Former Thai police chief get six years each, face more charges

Former Thai police chief get six years each, face more charges

Former Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief Pol Lt-General Pongpat Chayaphan and a former deputy were each handed a six-year prison term yesterday over three offences linked to racketeering.

The Criminal Court initially sentenced Pongpat and former deputy CIB chief Pol Major Kowit Wongrungroj to 12 years in prison - five for lese majeste, five for malfeasance and two for illicitly operating a gambling den - but later halved the sentence citing their guilty plea.

There are four other policemen standing trial in two separate cases - which also involve Pongpat and Kowit as beneficiaries of a bribe-taking scheme.

The four pleaded not guilty in yesterday's hearing, saying they would defend themselves.

In case 291/2015, Pol Maj-General Bunsueb Phraitheun, a former Marine Police Division commander, has been indicted for taking bribes from a Yala-based fugitive businessman and handing the money to Pongpat and Kowit.

In case 292/2015, Pol Colonel Wutthichart Luensukhont, Pol Snr Sgt-Majors Surasak Jan-ngao and Jakkarin Laothong, have been indicted for demanding money from policemen seeking to be promoted or from those not wishing to be transferred. The three suspects were allegedly paid between Bt10,000 and Bt2 million a month, which was then forwarded to Pongpat and Kowit.

While facing further punishment in the two cases, Pongpat and Kowit were yesterday handed over to Corrections officials to begin serving their term, while the four others were back in court custody to further stand trial.

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