BANGKOK – National police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang said Sunday that a misunderstanding over an unofficial transfer list was believed to be behind the April 24 murder of a policewoman by her border patrol policeman husband who was later found hanged,
Pol Sgt Napaphat Nuan-ied, 29, attached to the office of Pol Gen Somyot, was found brutally murdered in a police flat she shared with her husband Pol Sgt Natthapong Nuan-ied, 31, for several years in the Thung Song Hong area of Lak Si district.
On Saturday morning the Bangkok Post Reported, Natthapong’s body was found hanging from a tree in front of Lam Takhong reservoir in Pak Chong district in Nakhon Ratchasima. Pol Gen Somyot’s name card was found pinned by a knife to a tree nearby.
Napaphat had sought a transfer to the highway police office in Uthai Thani two days before she was killed. She asked for her husband to be transferred to the same place. The dead officer later learned that his name was not on the transfer list and reportedly became distraught, quarrelling frequently with his wife.
Pol Gen Somyot strenuously denied any connection to the tragedy. Some media reports and earlier speculation suggested the killing and suicide may have something to do with a relationship he may have had with Napaphat. The general said he had hardly ever talked to Napaphat and only knew her name after her death.
“This is ridiculous, but everyone has the right to think like that. I’ve never allowed a female subordinate to enter my room alone and all policewomen who come to work at my office must be married,” he said at a press conference on Sunday.
He also denied reports that he had ordered police to cover up the incident as he was implicated in the matter. But he admitted some subordinates may have tried to do it out of “good intentions”.
He said an examination was welcome if relatives of the dead officers had any doubts about the deaths.
Pol Gen Somyot said the transfer list contained the names of non-commissioned officers among his staff who were seeking to be stationed elsewhere in the future. It was unofficial and drawn up by staff in the office to check and gather the names of those wanting new jobs before he retires later this year.
It was only an inquiry as it was not the time for senior police to consider a reshuffle. Besides that, he said, the authority to reshuffle non-commissioned officers was the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police Bureau chief, not him.
Pol Gen Somyot said Natthapong may have committed the crime in a fit of rage as he could have got the impression he had hindered his transfer attempt. He said Natthapong may have stuck the knife in his name card to create doubt with the public that he had bullied him.
“It was all his fantasy,” the national police chief said. “I don’t know what he was thinking.”
The general said he felt sorry about the deaths of the two officers due to either a misunderstanding or feeling downcast at being pushed aside by their superiors.
Natthapong had spent six months in the office of Pol Gen Somyot when he was deputy national police chief. He had been transferred there because of his hot temper.
Pol Gen Somyot said he asked Natthapong if he was angry about the transfer and Natthapong said he understood the reason as he had been behaving inappropriately.
“Everyone in the office [of national police chief] knew his disposition well. He was petulant, hot-headed and reckless. More importantly, he had fanciful thoughts and liked to take unrealistic things as reality,” Pol Gen Somyot said.
He said he was told by Natthapong’s close colleagues that the officer regularly beat his wife and recently tried to pressure her into helping him with the transfer.
An autopsy showed Napaphat had been struck a fatal blow on the head with a hammer.