DETAINEE TAWATCHAI Anukul did not commit suicide in DSI custody and died at the hands of someone else, either by malicious intent or by accident, Metropolitan Police Division 2 chief Pol Maj-General Charoen Srisasaluk said yesterday.
However, he insisted that police could not conclude at this point whether Tawatchai was murdered. “Please do not assume that a death caused by another person is equal to murder,” he said.
Tawatchai died on August 30 while in the custody of the Department of Special Investigation over allegations of illegally issuing title deeds worth at least Bt10 billion. His death has raised many questions, with the DSI suggesting that he committed suicide and a preliminary autopsy showing that he succumbed to asphyxiation and also a ruptured liver.
After the autopsy results became public, the Mongkutwattana General Hospital firmly denied that resuscitation steps taken to revive Tawatchai could have caused such injuries.
The DSI summoned the medical team in the early hours of August 30, after DSI officials reportedly found Tawatchai hanging from his socks and in a critical condition. Two doctors from the hospital met police again yesterday.
Thung Song Hong Police Station’s superintendent Pol Colonel Mana Pohchuay said there was solid evidence that the three or four injuries on Tawatchai’s body were not self-inflicted.
“We can’t conclude yet whether these injuries were caused by accident or by a murderer,” Mana said. He explained that more evidence, including CCTV camera footage, was required before police can conclude the investigation.
Today, the Central Institute of Forensic Medicine will have Tawatchai’s body scanned to check for broken bones and any other injuries. The scan is part of an ongoing probe led by the Justice Ministry’s fact-finding panel, which includes many medical experts. Meanwhile, national police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda said people should not try to see beyond the police department’s words that “Tawatchai’s death was caused by another person but was not murder”.
He said that police still need to determine who caused the death.
A police source explained yesterday that the police description could mean that an accident or error by another person had led to the death. The source said it was important for the investigation to determine the time Tawatchai sustained the fatal injury.
The source added that since the investigation was only concerned with the cause of death, no one has been identified as a suspect. If there is a court ruling that Tawatchai was indeed killed by someone, then it could lead to a criminal investigation and the question of who committed the crime, the source said.