BANGKOK – Thai Authorities have arrested former lawyer Pisit Sammalert and his accomplices in Bangkok over their alleged roles in cheating a 14-year-old road accident victim out of Bt4 million in compensation.
Pisit, 59, and another close female friend named Thitapa, or Pattharawadee Sawasdee, 39, were nabbed at about 3am on Monday in a condominium parking lot in Soi Ram-Indra 125 in Bangkok’s Min Buri district.
Pol Lt Gen Sanit Mahathavorn, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said Pisit Sammalert is in police custody, along with his wife, and being questioned over the allegation he stole most of the compensation money due to his crippled client Pattarada “Nong Beam” Kaewpong, who is now 14 years old.
The Anti Money Laundering Office (Amlo) will be asked to examine the lawyer’s finances and see if any of his assets can be seized.
He said the suspect claimed to have received 4 million baht from the insurance firm, deducted 500,000 baht for legal fees, and handed the remainder to his wife, Pornpavee Chukaew.
After the arrest of the lawyer and his wife, Mrs Pornthip said she was still worried whether she would get any of the money they were owed, or not.
Saying that the authorities’ attempts to retrieve the assets to repay the damaged persons would take some time, city police chief Sanit presented a sum of assistance money from his own pocket to Porntip to help with the family’s expenses.
Mrs.Porntip has launched a civil lawsuit against Pisit to seek compensation. The trial is set to begin on August 28.
Pisit and Pornpaveen have no assets to be seized and sold to repay Porntip’s family, an initial check by the lawyer’s council found, a source said.
Pol Lt Gen Sanit said police officers would bring Pisit and Thitapa to apply for the first 12-day detention period at the Taling Chan court on Tuesday and object their bail release on the grounds they are considered a flight risk.
He has instructed investigators to complete the probe in 12 days to make an example of Pisit so people would not abuse the power of their position and public trust to cheat others.