Phuket Provincial Police announced through a statement issued late yesterday (Sept 18) that a man, who the statement named only as “Mr Kittipong”, had been arrested after police found him in possession of dried marijuana, hand-rolled marijuana cigarettes and 10 tablets of Tramadol.
The statement claimed it was in response to a post online at 11:30pm Saturday highlighting lack of action against ‘Mr Kittipong’.
Police were not ignoring the issue, the statement assured.
However, the statement also came some 10 hours after CCTV footage showing Mr Kittipong on Bangla Rd was posted online by the Phuket Info Center, which operates under the Phuket Governor’s office.
The statement noted that the incident was brought to the attention of Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Sermphan Sirikong, who in turn ordered Patong Police Chief Col Sujin Nilabadee to investigate the claims.
The report did not report when Mr Kittipong was arrested. The statement also did not recognise any of the other claims made in the initial post online on Saturday, also shared by the Phuket Info Center, specifically saying that the man was openly selling cocaine on Bangla Rd.
Police also did not report any action taken against foreign tourists or any other people found to have brought drugs from Mr Kittipong.
The statement did not even confirm the charges brought against Mr Kittipong for possession of or selling drugs.
Also of note, the statement was not issued under the name of Patong Police Chief Col Sujin. Instead, it was issued by the “Phuket Provincial Police Spokesperson Team” and posted initially by Phuket Provincial Police, and then shared publicly by Patong Police Station.
“The investigative team brought the suspect along with the items to the investigating officer for further legal proceedings,” the statement read.
“In such a case, the actions of the accused may affect the image of tourism of the country and there are also criminal penalties under the law. Therefore, [we] would like to publicize it to our brothers and sisters if they find clues or such behaviours, please notify the police or relevant agencies so that they can investigate, arrest and prosecute decisively.”
The statement highlighted that Mr Kittipong had a history of drug arrests in his home province Nakhon Si Thammarat. According to police, Mr Kittipong had been arrested three times previously on drug offences.
While focussing on Mr Kittipong’s drug offence record, the statement did not make any mention that Mr Kittipong ‒ Kittipong ‘Bank’ Chanthawong, a 25-year-old native of Nakhon Si Thammarat ‒ had been arrested by Patong Police in April for intimidating foreign tourists with a gun loaded with blanks.
In that incident, Mr kittipong was brought in “for questioning” only after the incident was reported by foreign tourists.
Patong Police never confirmed what legal action was taken against Mr Kittpong for that infraction.
The post online on Saturday, posted on the ‘Hot Jung’ facebook page, gained wide readership online, accusing Patong Police of knowing about such behaviours in busy tourist areas, but chose to ignore it and take no action.
One comment under the post online noted, “Dare or not?”
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub