Following the brutal murder of a middle-aged woman by five teenagers in Sa Kaeo’s Aranyaprathet district, police forces are intensifying their efforts to combat juvenile delinquency nationwide.
Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, the head of the national police, announced on Monday a mandate to reduce youth criminality within a month.
Pol Gen Torsak has directed the Sa Kaeo police chief to compile a database of juvenile offenders in the province and instructed police to closely monitor teens aged 10-15 who are out after 10pm.
If these teenagers are found alone past this hour, their information will be recorded, and their parents will be summoned for questioning, as per Pol Gen Torsak’s instructions.
In provinces like Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan, which experience frequent youth disturbances but lack sufficient local police, the Provincial Special Operation Sub-Division will assist in this initiative.
Pol Gen Torsak revealed that an investigation into the alleged misconduct of two Aranyaprathet district police officers has been submitted to the National Anti-Corruption Commission.
These officers are accused of forcing Panya Khongsaenkham to falsely confess to the murder of his mentally ill wife, Buaphan Tansu, also known as Pa Kob.
The police have identified the actual perpetrators as a group of teenagers, aged 13 to 16. Security footage captured the teens assaulting Buaphan in Aranyaprathet.
They later confessed to her murder and to disposing of her body in a pond on January 11. They are currently detained for her murder.
Pol Lt Gen Somprasong Yentuam, head of the Police Provincial Police Region 2, stated that the involved officers breached the 2022 National Police Act and Criminal Code regarding neglect of duty and malfeasance.
However, at this stage, they are not found to have violated the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act, according to Pol Lt Gen Somprasong.
A panel is set to provide evidence to Sa Kaeo police for further investigation into whether these officers broke this act. Currently, the evidence is insufficient for this determination.
Pol Gen Torsak emphasized that the investigators were neither procrastinating nor attempting to assist their fellow officers. He stressed the need for solid evidence before pressing additional charges under the torture and enforced disappearance law.
Pol Gen Torsak noted that Mr. Panya, unable to serve as a police witness, is currently hospitalized for alcoholism treatment.
“Please don’t rush the investigators. They are trying to ensure that complete and correct evidence is gathered,” the police chief said.
Mr. Panya, initially arrested following the discovery of his wife’s body on January 12 and having confessed to the crime, was later exonerated by security camera footage showing the involvement of the five youths.
Mr. Panya reported being ordered to strip in an air-conditioned room and sign a confession at the station, according to deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn.
Activist Kanthat Pongpaiboonvej, also known as Kan Chompalang, accompanied by Mr. Panya’s niece, visited the Department of Special Investigation demanding accountability for more than just the two implicated officers in the forced confession case.
Mr. Kanthat reported that Mr. Panya’s niece is seeking an inquiry into the involvement of additional officers at the Aranyaprathet station and whether the two officers could face charges under the torture and enforced disappearance law.
Former juvenile protection director-general Thawatchai Thaikaeo recommended a curfew to safeguard teens, citing 11 pm curfews in US cities like Washington DC, New Orleans, and Atlanta.