Police officer charged with lèse majesté dies in custody

A police officer accused of lèse majesté for making false claims about the monarchy for personal benefit together with a famous fortune-teller has committed suicide in prison.

The Department of Corrections on Saturday, 24 October 2015, announced that Pol Maj Prakrom W., an inspector in the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD), hanged himself and died while detained at the remand facility in the 11th Army Division on Nakhon Chaisri road, Bangkok.

The announcement stated that the Department of Corrections received a report from the remand facility that the suspect at about 10 pm on Friday, 23 October 2015, hanged himself with clothes that were given to him by prison officers.

The report added that the detained police officer was in a critical condition when he was found by prison officers who tried to help him and later sent him to the hospital. He was later pronounced dead by a physician at the hospital of the remand facility.  

The Department of Corrections said that since he died in custody, an investigation and post mortem examination will be carried out.

On Wednesday, 21 October 2015, the Military Court of Bangkok granted the police permission to detain Suriyan Sutjritpolwongse, aka Mo Yong, a well-known fortune-teller, Jirawong W., his close associate, and Pol Maj Prakrom W.

The three are accused by the Thai military under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law, for making false claims about the Thai monarchy for personal benefit.

According to Matichon Online, Pol Lt Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul, the Assistant Police Chief now heading a 19-member investigative team on lèse majesté cases which was established especially for this case, said that the three pleaded guilty.

Pol Lt Gen Srivara said that during interrogation the three suspects also alleged the involvement of eight police officers in the Central Investigation Bureau. The identities of the eight are being kept confidential. They were transferred from their posts in the police force earlier this week.

The officer told the media that more arrest warrants will be issued for suspects in the case.

The head of the lèse majesté investigation team added that the three had been committing crimes for more than two months before their arrests and that they would be charged for more than one count each under the lèse majesté law, which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment for each offense.

Suriyan is an advisor to the publicity committee of the upcoming ‘Bike for Dad’ event, a cycling rally to honour HM the King, which will take place around the King’s birthday on 5 December.