Two of the seven police officers accused of torturing a suspect to death remain at large, including their police chief.
Col. Thitisan “Chief Joe” Utthanaphol and Sub. Lt. Thoranin Makwanna are the only Nakhon Sawan police officers to refuse to turn themselves in after being named in warrants for allegedly suffocating a suspect to death as shown in a video leaked by a station whistleblower.
The other five cops, accused of being accomplices in the crime – Maj. Raveeroj Ditthong, Capt. Songyot Klainak, Sen. Sgt. Maj. Wisut Boonkhiew, Sen. Sgt. Maj. Supakorn Nimchuen and Lance Corp. Paweekorn Khammarew – have been apprehended.
A search of Chief Joe’s residence on Wednesday only found two Burmese maids – and possessions beyond the reach of an honest cop.
The authorities found a vast collection of luxury cars including a Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Ferrari, Audi and Mini Cooper. He also owns a limited-edition Lamborghini Aventador LP 720-4 50 Anniversary special and was said to be the first Thai national to own such a vehicle.
His wealth prompted the Customs Department to initiate an investigation into how the city police chief acquired the sports cars and supercars with ten of millions of baht. It’s also raised questions about his motive in allegedly killing a suspected drug trafficker.
Chief Joe, who’s also known as “Joe Ferrari” in the media, is being commended in the corners of the internet that love dirty-but-tough cops.
The footage publicized Tuesday by lawyer Sitra Biabungkerd showed officers place a bag over a suspect’s head. The suspect has been identified as Jirapong Thanapat, 24, who was reportedly arrested with 100,000 methamphetamine pills.
The seven cops are facing charges of malfeasance, colluding with others in coercion and killing by torture.
This article, ‘Chief Joe’ and deputy on the run after Thai jailhouse killing, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.