Thailand eyes compensation for wrong imprisonment

Soon individuals who were wrongly imprisoned or victims of serious crimes will be able to lodge a police complaint and simultaneously file for compensation with the Rights and Liberties Protection Department.

Department chief Pol Colonel Narat Sawetnan said he would meet Police chief General Somyos Phumphanmuang on October 1 and ask him to help set up "one-stop service" centres at all police stations.

The move follows previous news that the fund to pay damages to individuals in criminal cases, set at Bt200 million ($7.9 million) this year, had run low and required replenishing. In a recent interview with The Nation, Narat put that scenario in a positive light, saying this meant the agency provided better coverage for victims.

Under the fund, victims in serious crimes such as rape or murder would be compensated Bt30,000 and Bt100,000 respectively, while those wrongly imprisoned will be granted Bt400 for each day spent behind bars as well as up to Bt30,000 in medical bills.

Narat said between 2008 and 2012, only 18 per cent of eligible victims had sought compensation.

However, after then-deputy police chief General Ake Angsananont issued a memo in November 2012 asking all police investigators to inform damaged persons about the fund, and the department's proactive measures, the number of compensation requests rose to 38 per cent in 2013, Narat said.

So far this year, the agency has received 65-68 per cent requests and has already paid out Bt254 million in compensations, while another Bt84 million is pending for other eligible victims, he said.