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Teacher Preecha arrested in B30m prize dispute

Teacher Preecha arrested in B30m prize dispute

BANGKOK: Crime Suppression Division police arrested teacher Preecha Kraikruan and a local lottery vendor in Kanchanaburi province yesterday (Feb 28) in a dramatic climax to the long-running B30-million first-prize dispute.

Thursday 1 March 2018, 11:54AM

Teacher Preecha Kraikruan, 50, sits in a Crime Suppression Division pickup truck after his arrest at Thepmongkol Rangsee School in Muang district, Kanchanaburi, around noon on Wednesday. (Photo captured from a Spring News report)

Teacher Preecha Kraikruan, 50, sits in a Crime Suppression Division pickup truck after his arrest at Thepmongkol Rangsee School in Muang district, Kanchanaburi, around noon on Wednesday. (Photo captured from a Spring News report)

The arrest occurred after police sought and obtained arrest warrants from the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok in the morning.

Both Mr Preecha and lottery vendor, Ratanaporn Supatip, asserted on Wednesday morning that the teacher had bought the set of five winning lottery tickets for the Nov 1, 2017 draw. They were confident of their evidence and they would take the matter to court.

CSD police waited at Thepmongkol Rangsee School in Muang district, at the teacher's request, for Mr Preecha to finish his morning class before making the arrest around noon.

Police also searched the teacher's office at his school and his house, and said they were taking Mr Preecha to Bangkok.

At a news briefing in Bangkok yesterday afternoon, Central Investigation Bureau commissioner Pol Lt Gen Thitirat Nonghanpitak said the CSD investigation focused only on the evidence and witnesses presented by Mr Preecha's side.

Pol Lt Jaroon had not presented any evidence or witness, other than the tickets.

The investigation found that the evidence and witnesses presented by Mr Preecha could not be confirmed by any scientific process, he said.

The commissioner also said the Criminal Court approved the arrest warrants on counts of bringing a false complaint and attempting to frame and damage others.

These offences are liable to a jail term of 3-5 years and/or a fine of B10,000-60,000.

Pol Lt Gen Thitirat also said several lottery buyers and vendors had used false witnesses and fake evidence to claim about five jackpot prizes in the past two years. Only buyers and vendors were behind such fraudulent schemes.

National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip told the news conference the CSD investigation had nothing to do with any civil dispute between Mr Preecha and Pol Lt Jaroon, and Mr Preecha had the right to defend himself.

Asked who was the real owner of the disputed first-prize lottery tickets, Pol Gen Chakthip said only that the Supreme Court had ruled that lottery prizes must be paid to the people who hold winning tickets. He also quoted a past remark of the attorney-general - that the owners of government lottery tickets were the people who had possession of them, and anyone who loses a lottery ticket must report it immediately.

The lottery dispute came to light when Mr Preecha, 50, claimed in December that he had purchased the prize-winning tickets and filed a complaint with police against retired Pol Lt Jaroon Wimol, 62, who cashed in the tickets. He accused him of fraudulent appropriation, claiming Pol Lt Jaroon picked up the tickets after he dropped them.

As a result, the cash prize from the Nov 1, 2017 draw was frozen pending the conclusion of the probe. Pol Lt Jaroon insisted the tickets belonged to him, and said he had already spent some of the money and refused to hand over any of it.

The case was originally handled by Provincial Police Region 7, which oversees Kanchanaburi and other western provinces.

That investigation concluded Mr Preecha was the real owner of the tickets, based on the testimony of witnesses. The national police chief on Feb 5 ordered the regional police to transfer the case to the CSD after the findings were met with loud scepticism from the public.

Read original story here.

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Kurt | 01 March 2018 - 12:45:36

The whole affair, in context so simple, became a deliberately developed thai drama kindergarten opera.
A perfect show how they can make simple matters difficult, much of the time for own job justification.
And of course maneuvering to get a bit of the money pie.
After all, it is about money, big money. How to hold your thai money horses when your mouth is watering and you see chances?

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