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Phuket police called to Bangkok not suspects in Vard corruption case, says lead investigator

PHUKET: The six Phuket police officers called to Bangkok to answer questions about the alleged extortion and embezzlement of B65 million of assets from Phuket resident Colin Vard and and his family are not suspects in the case, The Phuket News has been told.

tourismpoliticspolicecrimecorruption
By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Thursday 11 June 2015, 08:46AM


Lt Col Chai Sanguansin (crouching, in blue shirt) of Interpol Thailand hears Colin Vard’s plea in Bangkok.

Lt Col Chai Sanguansin (crouching, in blue shirt) of Interpol Thailand hears Colin Vard’s plea in Bangkok.

The six officers were questioned personally by national police chief Gen Somyot Pumpunmuang last week, confirmed Pol Lt Col Chai Sanguansin, deputy superintendent of Interpol Thailand.

“It was a failure of communication problem,” he explained. “They each received a complaint filed by Mr Vard, but all of them treated the complaint they received individually. They did not check with each other about the other complaints filed.

“It is a very complicated case. We’ve been given three months to conclude our investigation, which we will need to figure out what happened.”

Col Chai, who was ordered directly by Gen Somyot to lead the investigation into the Vard complaint, declined to name the six Phuket officers called to Bangkok.

“At this stage, we cannot reveal the identities of the people accused in this case, including officials,” he said.

“But I can say that it involves officials, a property broker in Phuket and a lawyer, as well as witnesses.”

Meanwhile, the Vard family has been granted police protection.

“We know that Mr Vard has received threats over the phone. We are watching this and we have to provide security for them,” Col Chai said.

Gen Somyot ordered Col Chai to lead the investigation after hearing Mr Vard’s complaint in person on June 2.

The police chief also ordered Pol Col Veerawat Chantaravijit, deputy chief of the Phuket Provincial Police, and Yodmongkol Sappaisansook, a senior lawyer from the Justice Ministry, to assist Col Chai in the investigation. (See story here)

Mr Vard last Friday (June 5) posted a message of gratitude to the Royal Thai Police for the new investigation, and for the strong support that his daughter Jessie has received through her “Justice For Jessie” Facebook page, which has gone viral and now has more than 18,000 people following her posts. (Click here)

“It is easy to criticize. Harder to be humble and that is how we feel today. Humbled by the support and kindness of the Thai people,” Mr Vard wrote. (Click here)

“It is impossible not to be encouraged by so many young voices supporting us and demanding an end to corruption. While our Government and embassy abandoned us the Thai people have taken us to their hearts. Something we had no right to expect… Thank you.”

Mr Vard was especially thankful for the decisive action taken by Gen Somyot.

we were taken to meet with Commissioner Pol Maj Gen Somyot Poonpanmoung who listened to what we had to say, expressed his concern and issued instructions that our cases were to be investigated immediately and an experienced detective task force was to be set up.

“The situation now is that Pol Maj Gen Kokiat Wongvorachart reviews our cases every morning with four Interpol detectives under the leadership of Pol Lt Col Chai Sanguansin who has assured me, and I believe him, that he and his staff will investigate thoroughly and that everybody guilty will be punished.

“After working with them for two days I have to say that this is one team I would not like to come up against,” he wrote.

“Our sincere thanks to you the kind and caring Thai people and the Royal Thai Police for acting so quickly and decisively.”

 

 

 

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