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Former Police Station Chief Pleads Not Guilty to Murder

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Former Police Station Chief Pleads Not Guilty to Murder

A former police station chief in northeastern Thailand’s Nakhon Sawan province has pleaded not guilty to torturing and killing a drug suspect while in police custody.

During the arraignment, Pol Col Thitisan told the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases he did not intend to kill the suspect; rather he meant to scare Chiraphong into revealing more information about his illicit drug activities. He pleaded guilty to the other three charges.

Pol Col Thitisan Utthanaphon and six other police officers were indicted on four charges. Malfeasance of office; abuse of authority; colluding to murder by torture; and coercion in connection with the death of Mr. Chiraphong Thanapat.

All seven are accused of killing Mr. Chiraphong Thanapat while trying to extort 2 million baht during an Aug 5 interrogation. A video was posted on social media showing Mr. Chiraphong Thanapat being suffocated during questioning. The victim’s head was covered with a black plastic bag held in place by the police officers.

Pol Maj Rawirot Ditthong, the second defendant, also pleaded not guilty to the murder but plead guilty to the three other charges. The third defendant, Pol Capt Songyot Khlainak, denied the murder and the coercion charges but pleaded guilty to the malfeasance of office and abuse of authority charges.

Pol Lt Thoranin Matwanna, the fourth defendant, denied all charges except coercion. The other defendants, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Suphakon Nimchuen; Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wisut Bunkhiew; and also Pol L/C Pawikon Khammarew, denied all charges.

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