An ongoing police investigation has suggested that some people colluded in a plot to illegitimately claim lottery tickets that won Bt30 million (S$1.2 million) in prizes.
The latest update from national police commissioner Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda and Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief Pol Lt-General Thitiraj Nhongharnpitak lent weight yesterday to retired policeman Lieutenant Charoon Wimul's claim that he was the rightful owner of the winning tickets.
During the past few months, Charoon has been fighting teacher Preecha Kraikuan's allegations that he had found the tickets that Preecha had bought and then lost at a market in Kanchanaburi province.
"Personally, I think this case is reminiscent of Jomsap's," Chakthip said yesterday, in reference to Jomsap Saenmuangkhot, who initially won public sympathy with her claim that she had been jailed for a fatal hit-and-run accident she did not cause.
Jomsap is now behind bars again for alleged perjury after the Supreme Court threw out her request for a retrial and stated there had been plot to exonerate her. Several suspects including officials are facing legal action for helping Jomsap and a witness for her has admitted lying.
Chakthip yesterday had a meeting with Thitiraj and several police officers in regard to the high-profile dispute between Charoon and Preecha.
"I think the investigation should conclude before the end of this month," he said.
Chakthip has already assigned the CIB to take over the case from local police.
Both Charoon and Preecha live in Kanchanaburi province, where the winning lottery tickets were bought. The province is under the supervision of the Provincial Police Region 7.
Chakthip said reports he had received from Thitiraj provided information different from what local police had reported. Local police have treated Charoon as a suspect based on Preecha's complaint that Charoon must have found his lottery tickets.
Thitiraj said yesterday his agency had already acquired a lot of evidence and would ensure justice.
"Some figures might have taken sides with one party in this case, because they believed he is a good guy. They might have not really intended to cheat," he said.
Several lottery disputes have occurred in Thailand and CIB had expertise in such cases, he added.
He also said the Provincial Police Region 7 might lack experience in investigating lottery disputes.
Preecha has produced lottery vendor Rattanaporn Supatip as his key witness. She said Preecha, her regular customer, had purchased the winning tickets at her stall.
A recently circulated audio clip revealed a conversation between Rattanaporn and a man, believed to be Preecha, talking about the lottery tickets. In the clip, the man says the tickets did not win the jackpot.
The CIB has also announced that contrary to Preecha's claim, phone logs showed he did not call Rattanaporn after learning the results of the lottery draw on November 1.
Following that draw, Charoon claimed the Bt30 million, but on November 2, Preecha lodged a complaint with police claiming that he had lost the winning lottery tickets.
The CIB added that another unidentified witness produced by Preecha had also provided false testimony.
"She could not have seen him buy the ticket from Rattanaporn because she came to the place after he had already left," the bureau stated, citing recordings from CCTV.