Police suspected of helping to conceal evidence of illegal gambling
Police are being questioned over the way they are treating the recent shooting incident at an illegal gambling den, in Bangkok’s Thung Mahamek area, in which four people, including a police officer, died, and whether some police officers have concealed evidence.
Pol Col Viroot Sirisawatbut, secretary-general of the Justice Reform Institute, said yesterday that police appear to be treating the shooting in the same way as they treated the Red Bull heir’s hit-and-run case, alleging that forensic investigators were notified several hours after the police, apparently to allow time to get rid of all the gambling equipment, including the surveillance cameras.
He suggest that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha pays special attention to this case and deals harshly with any rogue police.
Palang Pracharat MP Sira Jenjakha, Chair of the House Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights, is offering a 10,000 baht reward for information about anyone who destroyed evidence at the illegal gambling den. He said today that the House committee will invite the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Pol Lt-Gen Pakkapong Ponpetrat, a senior police officer who was transferred after the incident and former politician, Mr. Chuvit Kamonvisit, to testify before his committee on August 13th.
Pol Lt-Gen Pakkapong reportedly said that the venue of the shooting was not a gambling den, as a legal technicality, because there was only one table inside the premises, which was devoid of any gambling equipment.
Mr. Chuvit Kamonvisit said, on his Facebook page on Wednesday, that he didn’t understand why the Metropolitan Police Commissioner had asked him to provide information about Hia Tee, the alleged operator of the gambling den.
He said that the police should have questioned the two men who were seen in a picture, which went viral on social media, showing them climbing a ladder to dismantle CCTV cameras at the venue, while the bodies of the victims were still lying on the floor.
“Didn’t they feel ashamed at all?” he asked, questioning the utter insensitivity of the people there.
Mr. Chuwit said that those enforcing the law must ensure that all are treated equally, but it appears that they exploited their experience, knowledge and expertise to conceal and distort the facts to the benefit of their own interests and those of their people.
A day earlier he said that Hia Tee is an established figure in Thailand’s illegal gambling world and well known among Thai gamblers, adding that “Rama III” gambling has become very popular, after casinos in neighbouring countries closed because of theCOVID-19 pandemic.
“For Thai society, illegal gambling dens are not a serious offence, because they bring prosperity to the communities and provide financial support for police officers the next time they need money for their promotions or to catch thieves or drug traffickers,” said Chuwit.