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Former Senior Investigator Who Exposed Police Corruption Shot to Death

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SONGKHLA – A former Pol Capt Watcharin Benjathotsawat, who accused Thai Police Officers of abuse of authority and extortion was shot and killed in front of his house in Southern Thailand on Tuesday afternoon.

The victim was former Pol Capt Watcharin Benjathotsawat, 48, who use to be a deputy investigative superintendent at Songkhla police headquarters in Southern Thailand.

He was shot three times, the bullets hitting his torso and chin, after parking his white Toyota Vios sedan at his house. Rescue workers gave him emergency aid and rushed him to Songkhla Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Police said according to witnesses there were at least two people in the black Toyota Vios that followed him to his house. After Pol Capt Watcharin parked his car, a person got out of the black car and shot him through the car door at point-blank range.

The gunman got back in the car, which sped away. Police called to the scene said there were three bullet holes in the car door.

A police officers stands near a car Tuesday in Songkhla city, where former police Capt. Watcharin Benjatossawas was shot to death.

The former Songkhla investigator became known in 2017 when he went public with accusations of corruption against his superiors, saying he was unjustly fired after arresting two people for squatting on public land.

He was tried and convicted of wrongful confinement and abuse of power.

Watcharin responded by suing the provincial police commissioner and other high-ranking officers for abusing their power, allegations for which the defendants were acquitted last year.

After being dismissed from the force, Watcharin had actively campaigned online against corruption among the police, advocated for defendants’ rights and supported victims of police malfeasance.

He had shared accusations via live Facebook posts and they included allegations of extortion at police checkpoints, police misconduct and abuse of authority.

Last year, he helped exonerate a man who said drugs had been planted on him by Hat Yai police. The case was dropped by prosecutors and three policemen involving in the case were shuffled to new assignments, a typical bureaucratic response to wrongdoing.

By Assawin Pakkawan
The Bangkok Post