Fugitive Police Chief ‘Jo Ferrari’ Surrenders to Authorities

Fugitive sacked police colonel Thitisan Utthanaphon, known to colleagues as Jo Ferrari, turned himself into Chon Buri authorities Thursday night.

But Pol Col Thitisan, accused of torturing a drug suspect to death, claimed he had not tried to extort or injure the drug suspect.

A provincial court issued an arrest warrant against the former chief of Nakhon Sawan Muang police station for his alleged role in the torture and death of 24-year-old Jeerapong Thanapat.

At around 9:45 p.m. yesterday, Police chief Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk gave an overview of the case, assuring that he would not protect any wrongdoer.

Subsequently, he let Pol Col Thitisan answer some questions from journalists.

The 39-year-old man admitted to torturing Jeerapong with bags but said he did not intend to extort money from him.

Jo Ferrari said he tried to get more information from the suspect about a drug lot after checking his mobile phone.

Jeerapong’s mobile phone had pictures of about a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine and 20,000 speed pills, Pol Col Thitisan claimed.

He also said that he wanted to destroy “the drug business and protect the people of Nakhon Sawan,” admitting that he had made a mistake.

“My subordinates just followed my order and I take sole responsibility,” he added.

Pol Col Thitisan denied rumors that he was involved in corruption and said it was the first time he had treated a suspect that way.

When asked why he used six bags to cover the 24-year-old’s head, he said he did not want the suspect to see his face.

Jeerapong reportedly kept trying to remove the bags, forcing officers to tie his hands as well.

Pol Col Thitisan said the suspect lost consciousness, but he assumed that Jeerapong was in shock, as his wife had confessed that he usually took large amounts of narcotics.

After they unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate Jeerapong, police agents took him to the hospital.

Pol Col Thitisan also explained why he ordered his subordinates to remove the station’s security cameras, saying he was shocked by Jeerapong’s condition.

He stated that he had never experienced a similar incident.

The former police chief spoke with reporters for 15 minutes before Pol Gen Suchart Teerasawat ended the session, arguing that he did not want journalists’ questions to affect the case.

Pol Col Thitisan appeared at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok last night for questioning by National Police Chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk.