Thitisan Utthanaphon Wiki – Thitisan Utthanaphon Biography
Thitisan Utthanaphon is a Thai police chief accused of torturing and killing a suspected drug dealer while in custody, allegedly attempting to extort tens of thousands of pounds, who has been arrested following a search.
Utthanaphon, who has been removed from his position as superintendent of Muang police station in Nakhon Sawan, north of Bangkok, is accused of extracting 2m baht (£44,463) from the suspect. He disappeared days before a video of the incident went viral on social media but was detained by police on Thursday.
He is 39 years old.
A recording of the interrogation shows an officer placing multiple plastic bags over the head of a handcuffed man. The man is then pushed to the floor. Police later try to revive him by carrying out CPR and pouring water on his face but are unsuccessful.
The man has been named by Thai media as Jeerapong Thanapat.
When Jeerapong died, Thitisan allegedly ordered officers to tell doctors the death was caused by a drug overdose, according to an account of the incident posted on Facebook by a prominent lawyer, Decha Kittiwittayanan, who said intermediaries had contacted him for at least one anonymous whistleblower.
As police searched Thitisan’s home this week, Thai media showed footage of his vast, luxury estate, including a collection of expensive sports cars. He reportedly owns 29 cars worth more than 100m baht (£2.2m), which have earned him the nickname Jo Ferrari.
At a press conference held after his arrest, Thitisan, dialled in to speak to media, admitted using violence during the interrogation but said he had only been trying to obtain information about potential criminal activities. “I must testify that I didn’t have any intention to kill him. My intention was to work, to work for the people, and prevent people’s children from getting addicted to drugs,” he said.
All five suspects in custody, including a major and a captain, were brought before a judge who ruled on whether they should be held on charges of dereliction of duty, torture, and murder.
Two other officers are still sought in connection with the August 5 incident at their police station in Nakhon Sawan, north of Bangkok.
One of them is Thitisan Utthanaphon, a police colonel with the nickname “Jo Ferrari” because he collects expensive sports cars, Thai media reports.
Allegations of police brutality and corruption are not rare in Thailand, but the leaked video showing the suspected drug dealer suffocating after officers placed plastic bags over his head in an alleged extortion effort.
An initially slow investigation further stoked the outrage.
Police have also come under harsh criticism recently for their use of force to quell anti-government street protests in Bangkok.