By KHANATHIT SRIHIRANDEJ,
A BANGKOK policeman, arrested for alleged involvement in drug money laundering, has been suspended from civil service pending a probe, while the name list of influential criminal figures pointed fingers at some 20 police
The bureau and related agencies would investigate to find evidence and subject the guilty officers to criminal prosecution and disciplinary punishments, Rewat said.
Bang Khun Thian precinct Pol Senior Sgt-Major Theechat-assama or Boonyang Muangkrajang was arrested on Friday evening in a Bang Bon restaurant on money-laundering charges.
Later yesterday, Metropolitan Police Bureau acting chief Lt-General Sanit Mahathavorn issued an order for the transfer of four senior police officers from Bang Khun Thian precinct to assist with work at the Metropolitan Police Bureau for 30 days. They were accused of negligence that allowed subordinate Theechat-assama to commit serious crime for a long time. The transferred officers were: Bang Khun Thian superintendent Pol Colonel Attaporn Wongsiripreeda; deputy superintendent Pol Lt-Colonel Chusak Sriwongchai, chief inspector Pol Major Ekkalak Muakphan and deputy chief inspector Pol Captain Arthit Chatnakrob.
The arrest of Theechat-assama, who maintained his innocence at the time of going to press, stemmed from some 30 complaints over his alleged criminal behaviour and the recent arrest of Thon Buri-based alleged dealer of the Oros gang, Pichet Tangworawat, whose money transactions were linked to Theechat-assama, Rewat said. Police also found Theechat-assama’s bank accounts to have a circulating sum of Bt4 million and they would seize his assets believed to worth over Bt10 million, he added.
A subsequent search of his police desk found 1.3 gram of “ice” and 0.7 gram of marijuana. He also faced an additional charge of being in possession of drugs, Rewat added.
Although Theechat-assama did not figure in the name list of the ongoing nationwide crackdown on influential criminal figures, Rewat said the policeman was deemed to be a local influential figure, allegedly involved in drug trafficking since 2009.
An informed source reported that Theechat-assama’s network included Pichet and Sayan Khieosakunee, who was arrested last September and found in possession of 40 ‘yaba’ pills and a bomb. Sayan’s arrest led to the capture of Pichet, who was in possession of gun ammunition. The two men allegedly confessed to dealing drugs with Theechat-assama and the gang wired money to the policeman’s bank accounts on various occasions, which came under drug money laundering, resulting in a court issuing an arrest warrant for the policeman, the source said. Some witnesses also testified that the policeman was allegedly involved in clearing drug cases of suspects in exchange for Bt30,000-Bt400,000 payment depending on the amount of drugs seized.
Rewat also informed about four other drug busts involving 10 suspects. The first case with six suspects saw 11 kilograms of “ice” and 6,000 ‘yaba’ pills seized in Bangkok’s Lak Si district on March 8. The second case saw 200,000 ‘yaba’ pills seized from two suspects, including assistant village headman Wang Chaimathong, in Chiang Rai’s Muang district on March 9. The third case, with one female suspect Sab Polthongmak, saw 2,259 ‘yaba’ pills seized on March 10 in Buri Ram. In the fourth case, a wanted drug suspect Narong Sriwongchai was arrested with Bt800,000 cash, two pistols and other valuables worth Bt13 million in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin district on Friday.
Meanwhile, Metropolitan Police Bureau acting chief Lt-General Sanit Mahathavorn yesterday revealed that a probe had cleared the names of four “influential” figures in the city police. Two police – one in Din Daeng and the other in Bang Phong Phang – were cleared of any wrongdoing and not deemed unusually wealthy. Another officer was actually based in Nakhon Ratchasima and had resigned from civil service, and the other person did not exist, he added.
In related news, the Provincial Police Region 9 on Friday transferred Songkhla’s Hat Yai precinct superintendent Pol Colonel Pasakorn Klanwan and traffic police inspector Pol Lt-Colonel Sitthisak Chansawang to assist the regional office’s work pending a probe following a gambling den bust. There were 19 more police in Songkhla, Satun, Phatthalung and Trang to be transferred as part of the crackdown on influential persons, an informed source reported yesterday.
To arrest ‘dark influential persons’, Pol Maj-General Pornchai Charoenwong, commander of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau’s Division 3, dispatched a team of 100 police yesterday morning to raid five locations in Tha Id area in Nonthaburi’s Pak Kred district and arrested two suspects along with half a tablet of yaba and one bag of marijuana. Another police sting operation in Bangkok’s Huai Kwang district at 3am yesterday saw three suspects captured. They had 3,000 yaba pills and 426 grams of “ice”.
In Nakhon Ratchasima’s Muang district, three policemen were transferred yesterday to inactive posts following the Army’s raid of a gambling den in a downtown noodle shop where 26 punters were rounded up last week.