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Phuket residents riot over alleged physical abuse in drug arrests

PHUKET: About 50 local residents from Baan Thasak in Phuket’s Pa Khlok subdistrict massed in front of the Thalang District Office at 9pm last night (June 5) to protest alleged physical abuse by officials.

crime, drugs,

Eakkapop Thongtub

Thursday 6 July 2017, 06:11PM

The crowd called for two men – Somsak Aungkara and his son Autsadawut Deem Aungkara, 20 – who had been taken into custody for drugs offences to be released.

They claimed that officers used too much physical force in handling the suspects, especially one, the son, who they said was “not of full sound mind”.

The crowd called for the officers involved to be held responsible.

One protester, a relative of the two suspects, said “Mr Autsadawut was on a motorbike when civil defense volunteer stopped him at a checkpoint near Wat Thasak and made him perform a urine drug test.

“The urine sample tested positive, so officers force him to his family’s home where he lives and claimed that they found one meth pill (ya bah) in the house."

"Mr Somsak (Mr Autsadawut’s father) who was at the house told officers that he is the owner of the house and the meth belonged to him."

“Officers took them both to Thalang District Office to record their details so that they could send them for treatment,” the relative said.

“We saw officers used physical force in handling them. Local teenagers and residents are disappointed about this. That is why they gathered in front of the Thalang District Office,” the relative added.

Police officers were called to the scene after protesters continued to their very vocal protest in front of the gates.

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The protesters disbanded after Thalang District Chief Vigrom Charktee spent an hour talking with them.

The Thalang District Office report of the incident noted that senior Thalang District Office officials Siriphong Leeprasit and Danai Jaikheng, who head of the district’s security operations together, along with defense volunteers set up a security checkpoint in Moo 4, Baan Thasak, Pa Khlok, at 5:20pm yesterday (July 5).

The report said that the officials checked Mr Autsadawut’s urine and believed that he has involved with drugs.

Officers went to the house where he lived and found one ya bah pill. Mr Somsak, the owner of the house and Mr Autsadawut’s father, confessed that it belonged to him, said the report.

However, instead of handing the suspects over to the police, the officials noted of the suspects in their report, “They are willing to be treated.”

“While officers were on their way with them to Thalang District Office, on the road entering Baan Thasak Moo 4 in Pa Khlok, 18 people who are believed to be their (the suspects’) relatives blocked the road.

“They threw rocks at officers’ vehicles. One defense volunteer, Niyom Nueang-ubon, suffered an injury to his head. He was taken to hospital. The person who has been tested for urine tested positive,” the report said.

After the protest, the relative who asked not to be named said, “We have not reported this incident to police. We haven’t decide yet. We have just realized that officers are going to report that we obstructed them in performing their duties.

“They also have said that they would report any persons who spread this news as it is illegal nuder the Computer Act.” the relative added.



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