The father of a teenager killed in a motorcycle accident was duped out of 1.4 million baht insurance compensation by a senior police officer.
The father filed a complaint with the Crime Suppression Police Division (CSD) that the officer himself pocketed 1.4 million baht and only gave him 100,000 baht.
Mr. Somkid Laongnual was accompanied by his lawyer Mr. Atchariya Ruangrattanapong of the Crime Victims Assistance Club when he filed his complaint with the Crime Suppression Police Division on Monday.
In his statement, he alleged that Nong Prue police chief Pol Col Thawatchai Norasingh misappropriated the compensation for his son’s death, Prinya, amounting to about 1.4 million baht.
His 19-year-old son Prinya, 19, died when his motorcycle collided with a car driven by Pol Col Thawatchai on the night of December 27, 2021, in Kanchanaburi province.
It is worth noting that Pol Col Thawatchai was the chief of police for the Nong Prue district police station.
Mr. Somkid claimed that Pol Col Thawatchai began negotiating with him about a month after his son was killed over the amount to be paid for his loss.
Insurance paid out 1.5 million baht
On Monday, Mr. Somkid told reporters that he had been forced to settle the case and accept 100,000 baht, or he would not receive any compensation.
The compensation also came with the condition that Mr. Somkid had to open a new bank account to receive the compensation money. He also had to authorize Pol Col Thawatchai to act on his behalf.
He was told that the newly opened account was to receive money from the insurance company as well as compensation under the Road Accident Victims Protection Act.
Later on, Mr. Somkid found out that he was supposed to receive 1.5 million baht instead of only 100,000. However, he was afraid of filing a complaint with police in Kanchanaburi province, because Pol Col Thawatchai was a senior police officer and he feared retribution.
Mr. Somkid brought the case to light on Friday when he posted a message on his Facebook account asking for justice.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my son, who cannot be replaced by money. And then to add to my misery I was cheated by the police officer who killed him,” he wrote.
Police officer transferred
One day later, Kanchanaburi police chief Pol Maj Gen Pairote Khumphai transferred the senior police officer from Nong Prue police station to the province’s head office, clearing the way for an investigation.
Pol Col Thawatchai was accused by the father’s attorney Mr. Atchariya of trying to hide the compensation information in order to reap the benefits due to the victim’s father.
Pol Col Thawatchai has not yet responded to the accusation leveled against him.
Meanwhile, Police Lieutenant Colonel Panupong Chantrakul of the CSD said that investigators would examine all the evidence presented by Mr. Somkid. They would then decide whether or not to accept the case against the senior police officer for further investigation.
According to a recent study published by Transparency International in November 2020, half of Thais admitted they paid bribes to the police within the previous 12 months.
Corruption is worse than ever
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha vowed to eradicate corruption shortly after assuming power following a coup in 2014.
In seven years, almost nothing has been achieved in eradicating police malpractice. Furthermore, observers see almost zero hope of serious progress. Since the 2014 coup corruption has actually increased under Gen. Prayut’s watch.
Analyst Thitinan Pongsudhirak of Chulalongkorn University called reform a “spectacular failure.” Because above all those at the top are shielded by “protection and cronyism” and whistleblowers are punished or silenced.
Earlier this year, the government approved a draft amendment to the National Police Act to kick-start police reform.
Despite this, the draft is still being debated in parliament, moving at a snail’s pace as committee members — some of whom are former policemen — haggle over details.
According to Transparency International’s corruption ranking, Thailand has fallen 19 places since 2014 and now ranks 104th out of 180 countries.