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Police Officers Tortured Elderly Man into False Murder Confession

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Police Officers Tortured Elderly Man into False Murder Confession

A preliminary fact-finding inquiry by the Royal Thai Police indicated that two police officers in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province tortured an elderly man into falsely confessing to killing his wife.

His wife was, in reality, murdered by a group of youths aged 13 to 16, according to investigators. According to reports, two attackers were senior police officers’ sons.

Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, a deputy national police chief, stated that Panya Khongsaenkham, the victim’s 54-year-old husband, accurately identified the police officer who forced him to strip in a cold, air-conditioned room and the other who placed a black plastic waste bag around his head.

According to Pol Gen Surachate, these activities constituted torture to force Mr Panya to admit to killing his wife, Buaphan Tansu, 47.

Mr Panya, currently in a government institution for vulnerable people, claims he was shown images of every officer at the Aranyaprathet station and asked to identify the suspects.

Mr Panya was arrested shortly after his wife’s body was discovered on January 12, and he confessed to killing her. However, security video later revealed that five adolescents were responsible for her killing.

Audio recordings of conversations between the lead investigator at the Aranyaprathet station and his colleagues also show that the police officers knew they had “the wrong guy“. Ms Buaphan’s body was cremated on Saturday.

So far, the inquiry has established that the two officers accused of torturing Mr Panya violated the police disciplinary code as well as Section 157 of the Criminal Code, which deals with desertion of duty and misconduct, according to Pol Lt Gen Somprasong Yentuam, chief of Provincial Police Region 2.

Police torture

Legal action against two police officers

After the investigation, a panel will give over all evidence acquired to the Sa Kaeo Provincial Police. The latter will investigate whether the cops violated the 2022 Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act, according to Pol Lt Gen Somprasong.

The National Human Rights Commission said in a statement that it would seek the Attorney-General’s Office to explore taking legal action against the two policemen under anti-torture legislation.

A source close to the investigation named the two officers as Pol Snr Sgt Maj Phisek Phuangmalipradap, an investigator, and Pol Lt Col Phichit Watthano, a deputy chief investigator.

In a similar development, national police head Torsak Sukvimol announced that the force would shortly submit research findings on decreasing the maximum age of juvenile delinquents to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and the Ministry of Justice for consideration.

An increase in significant crimes committed by minors has prompted proposals to decrease the criminal responsibility age to provide proper punishment in the legal system.

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Gruesome murder of an elderly woman

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin stated that the administration will consider the advantages and drawbacks of toughening legal sentences for young offenders who commit major crimes.

He made the remarks in response to requests for harsher sentences for juvenile delinquents following the gruesome murder of an elderly woman, allegedly by five youngsters aged 13 to 16, in Sa Kaeo’s Aranyaprathet neighbourhood.

The suspects, captured on a surveillance camera beating the victim in Aranyaprathet, later admitted to killing Buaphan Tansu, 47, and dumping her body in a pond on January 11. They are now in custody in connection with her murder.

Mr Srettha spoke to reporters at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Friday after returning to Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum.

The premier said he directed national police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol to investigate the alleged misconduct of several police officers at the Aranyaprathet district police station who are accused of torturing Buaphan’s husband, Panya Khongsaenkham, 54, into falsely confessing to his wife’s murder.

“The police must release the investigation results and inform the public about what transpired. The prime minister stated that the Royal Thai Police is responsible for restoring public trust and taking harsh legal action against officers who have committed wrongdoings.

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Stiffer Juvenile Penalties

Responding to proposals for harsher sanctions for juvenile criminals who commit significant crimes on purpose, Mr Srettha stated that he would first consult with the national police head about the benefits and drawbacks.

Chaichana Detdacho, a Democrat Party MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat, has advocated for harsher penalties for juvenile delinquents who commit such crimes, particularly in light of the Siam Paragon shooting rampage by a 14-year-old boy in Bangkok on October 3 of last year, which killed three people and injured four others.

In the Aranyaprathet murder case, a copy of the Line conversation history retrieved from the boys who admitted to killing the woman revealed they had a predisposition for violence and behaved more like a juvenile crime syndicate than typical teenagers, according to Mr Chaichan.

Pol Gen Torsak apologised on Friday for the alleged misbehaviour by Aranyaprathet police personnel. He spoke when he flew to Sa Kaeo yesterday to monitor the murder inquiry.

He stated that he would investigate the specifics of the alleged misbehaviour before providing a public explanation and that if the officers were proven guilty, they would face disciplinary and criminal consequences.

Deputy national police head Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn claimed he had listened to six voice snippets leaked online, which revealed that Aranyaprathet district police knew they had arrested the incorrect person in Buaphan’s murder.

He stated that he believed the clips were genuine and that it was his responsibility to investigate the alleged misbehaviour by police officers.

Arrested shortly after his wife’s death was discovered on January 12, Mr Panya allegedly confessed to the crime before footage from a security camera revealed the five boys were to blame.

Mr Panya claimed he was compelled to strip in an air-conditioned room and told he couldn’t leave until he signed a written confession, according to Pol Gen Surachate.

Senator Wallop Tungkananurak, writing on Facebook, proposed the formation of a multidisciplinary panel to analyse the behaviour of young criminals. He wrote that if they committed significant offences on purpose, the commission should propose harsher penalties.

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