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Phuket Opinion: A tradition of corruption

PHUKET: The outrageous killing of drug suspect in custody in Nakhon Sawan by suffocating him with plastic bags tied over his head this week has brought the spotlight yet again onto violent corrupt police in Thailand – and there is absolutely nothing new in how this latest despicable act is being treated to lead the public into believing that anything will be done to prevent similar abuses in the future.

opinionpolicecorruptionviolencecrime
By The Phuket News

Sunday 29 August 2021, 09:00AM


Photo: NNT

Photo: NNT

National Police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk’s statement that the killing of 24-year-old Chiraphong Thanapat while being interrogated by no less than six officers under the direct command of Pol Col Thitisan Utthanaphon, chief of Nakhon Sawan Police Station at the time, had “damaged the image of the Royal Thai Police” needs to be taken not with a pinch of salt, but a whole dose of them. The only way this incident can cause more damage to an image that has been blighted with corruption for decades is to lay down the principle that killing people in custody is a “no-no”.

Public perception was already out of the gate within hours of of Thitisan being presented at the national police headquarters in Bangkok on Thursday night with Thai social media abuzz with concerns that police were already working to protect their own. That public understanding of how the Royal Thai Police works did not come out of nowhere; that is exactly how people understand how the Royal Thai Police works.

Already the entire handling of the incident is collapsing into a debacle of incredulity, not including Thitisan’s own statements to the press – bar his claim that he did not intend to kill Chiraphong. How can you get any money from a suspect who’s dead?

The rest of the trumpeting that justice will be served is already falling on deaf ears. Why would a fugitive with such financial means who is already at large surrender at will? Common perception has it that the deal has already been done.

As for the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) announcing that it will now investigate Thitisan’s finances is a little late, and comes after his luxury mansion and collection of elite luxury cars, giving him the nickname “Jo Ferrari”, were already well known. It’s as if the NACC and the Royal Thai Police are now saying they had no idea Thitisan was of such wealth, at this stage estimated to be upwards of B250 million. Believe that one if you want. Keep in mind that as a police colonel Thitisan’s monthly salary from the government was B40,000. Then again, extremely wealthy police colonels in Thailand are not exactly rare.

Internal - Phuket Live Radio 89.5

In case the upper echelons of lawmakers and law enforcement in the country are not aware, people are not holding their breath for justice to be served in this case. It’s just another despicable act by corrupt police who are nothing more than gangsters in uniform. That’s the perception.

What people are tired of is nothing being done to address police corruption. There is no reason this latest case will result in genuine reform, mostly because all the public has received this time, yet again, are assurances that reforms are underway. Those assurances came from the very same office that has had the past seven years to start tackling the problem.

This has been going on so long the “image problem” the Royal Thai Police has is that no one in an appropriate position of authority wants to implement real change simply because they either benefit from it or are powerless to do anything about it. With decades of history showing that this holds true regardless of which political players are in power, or who has been installed as the latest national police chief, speaks for itself.

There is no need to worry about the image of the Royal Thai Police when it comes to any effort to counter corruption, simply because it couldn’t get much worse. In the meantime, the general public can rest assured in how easy it is to identify an honest cop in Thailand. He’s the poor one.

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Kurt | 30 August 2021 - 10:38:23

That 40% is corruption promoting in a already very corrupt organization. The RTP needs a clean up to become a police organization like Singapore has it. There a corrupt cop goes to prison, loose pension rights, and never get a job again in any government organization. 

Taswegian | 30 August 2021 - 09:55:39

Agree JohnC. Paragraph 5, "Why would a fugitive with 'a' such financial means", last paragraph, "...image of the RTP when it comes 'any' effort to counter...". Glad I'm not the only one who is pedantic about the Queen's English.

[Thank you! Both errors corrected -- Ed]

Timothy | 30 August 2021 - 07:56:56

He was so greedy and corrupt that even the 40% was not enough. He would have the electronic brain of the supercars removed so at auction they would be sold to "someone who had access to the integral parts" at a very low price. Once his associate purchased the car at 10 cents on the dollar, they would put the electronics back in and sell the, now legal car, for a fortune....  

Dick | 29 August 2021 - 16:56:46

If police officer is entitled to 40pc of the value of the illegal cars - as reward for performance.  Then Jo is  great performaning staff.  Why do we then moan about corruption?  Corruption actually has value in the Thailand governance system??  We should encourage more???

Christy Sweet | 29 August 2021 - 13:24:09

I don't really see any grammatical errors, but certainly apparent from the style and abrupt phrasing that  a non-NES wrote it. What's missing is the Bkk Post reported Mr Jo specialized in seizing illegal cars which would net him 40% of the value.  

Christy Sweet | 29 August 2021 - 11:19:39

Back in '68  my then 12 yo sister was molested by a Bangkok cab driver. Dad- working as an attache to RTAF, had to bring in the US Air Force to get  police to investigate. Later that year a Thai ... oh I could write a book on the subject of Thai Police.  

Fascinated | 29 August 2021 - 10:55:49

Interesting if they ever find out who his 'Rabbi' is. To rocket up to Lt Col in just 7 years took some juice and connections. He'll be lucky to get to trial as he knows where the skeletons are in the closet.

lelecuneo | 29 August 2021 - 10:27:53

the thai police is the worst possible mafious organization of all... everyone knows and it is a fact that they only act or not act on broen envelops... all ove rthe country and phuket too.... just look at the alcohol sals in patong beach front....Ban laimai etc... scammy hotels 

Xi_Virus | 29 August 2021 - 09:50:31

Well said TPN but what to eXpect ..?!.. when the entire country has been ruling by the "team-mafia" and gangXters since 2014. Mafia members are multiplying at all levels and positions. International WHITE-POWDER eXport (industry) is bloming thanks to the convicted criminal "Heroin" trafficker, now sitting on miniXterial position! Thais deserve Democracy and Freedom.
#FreeThail...

JohnC | 29 August 2021 - 09:10:27

Interesting opinion piece ED. And very accurate.  Though you should correct some of grammar and spelling errors so it reads easier. Don't you proof read articles before posting them?

 

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