The attorney-general has given the greenlight to the prosecution of former Police Colonel Thitisan Uttanaphon, aka “Joe Ferrari”, and six other former police officers on multiple charges, including premediated murder by means of torture, malfeasance in office, illegal detention and coercion.
The attorney-general is scheduled to submit the case to the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases next week.
Commissioner of Central Investigation Bureau Pol Lt-Gen Chiraphop Phuridet told the media on Friday that the charge of premediated murder by means of torture, on which the seven dismissed officers are indicted, marks an important use of such a charge, in accordance with Section 289 (5) of the Penal Code.
He explained that, previously, the alleged offenders would have been indicted on premediated murder charges, in accordance with Section 288 of the Penal Code, which carries the death penalty, life imprisonment or imprisonment from 15 to 20 years.
However, under Section 289 (5), the penalty is death, with no imprisonment as a sentencing option, if the accused are convicted by the court, said the commissioner.
Thitisan and his six former subordinates, all attached to Muang district police in Nakhon Sawan province, are accused of using several layers of plastic bags to cover the head of a suspect, Jirapong Thanapat, 24, in the police station, until he fell unconscious. The victim was later sent to the district hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A subsequent autopsy confirmed he died of suffocation.
Thitisan is also under investigation for his unusual wealth, reportedly earned from rewards he received from the Customs Department for the seizure of hundreds of luxurious cars, reportedly smuggled into Thailand from Malaysia.
Police found several expensive cars and 18 firearms at Thitisan’s mansion in a Bangkok suburb.