Joe Ferrari To Be Indicted in Drug Suspect’s Death Case

On Friday, the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief said public prosecutors had decided to indict seven police officers linked to a drug suspect’s murder while in police custody for all charges recommended by investigators.

According to Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) agreed to prosecute the former chief of the Muang district station in Nakhon Sawan, Pol Col Thitisan Utthanaphon, and six colleagues. All were charged with torturing and suffocating a drug suspect to death.

The six officers prosecuted for the case were Pol Maj Rawirot Ditthong, Pol Capt Songyot Khlainak, Pol Lt Thoranin Matwanna, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Suphakon Nimchuen, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wisut Bunkhiew, and Pol L/C Pawikon Khammarew.

Prosecutors agreed with the four charges proposed in a police report filed Nov. 3, including abuse of authority, malfeasance, coercion, and torture causing death, Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop added.

Local media quoted a police source saying that the OAG would indict the seven former officers in the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases next week. Under Thai law, such charges bear a maximum death penalty.

Pol Col Thitisan, known to his colleagues as “Joe Ferrari” for his luxurious life and collection of expensive cars, directed the police station where Chiraphong Thanapat, a 24-year-old drug suspect, died. He and six subordinates were accused of killing Thanapat while trying to extort 2 million baht from him.

In early August, a video went viral on social media showing officers covering Chirapong’s head with black plastic bags, brutally torturing and suffocating him during the interrogation. The next day, the suspect was officially pronounced dead.

Pol Col Thitisan, who denied all charges, vowed to fight the case in court. Meanwhile, all the accused have been discharged from the police force and are awaiting the court cases’ outcome to determine if they would keep their rank.