Panel to investigate U-turn on arrest warrant

Panel to investigate U-turn on arrest warrant

Investigation results expected in 30 days

Supreme Court president Chotiwat Luengprasert has formed a fact-finding committee to launch a probe into the abrupt revocation of an arrest warrant for a senator suspected of having links with drug trafficking rings.

Sorawit Limparangsri, spokesman of the Court of Justice, yesterday said the committee would gather facts from various sources for the Supreme Court president within 30 days.

However, the committee’s members do not have the authority to interrogate persons of interest according to the Criminal Code, he said.

The order was made after a letter from Pol Lt Col Manapong Wongpiwat, an inspector with Phaya Thai police tied to the case, made its rounds on social media recently, detailing the events which led to the scrapping of the warrant.

According to the summary of the letter, police arrested a Myanmar national, identified as Thun Min Lat, for a drug-related charge on Sept 17 last year. During interrogation, the suspect indicated his association with the senator.

On the morning of Oct 3 last year, Criminal Court approved a warrant against the senator on charges related to drug trafficking and money laundering, but later in the afternoon, an official from the court called Pol Lt Col Manapong and asked him to bring the warrant and related documents to meet an “important” person at the court.

On his way to the court, Pol Lt Col Manapong received a call from a former national police chief who urged him to revoke the warrant despite having sufficient evidence against the senator, it said.

Yesterday, national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas ordered the police inspector-general to investigate the procedure of issuing and revoking an arrest warrant thoroughly.

Pol Gen Damrongsak went on to defend the transfer of a team of police officers who arrested Thun Min Lat last year, saying the chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau has the right to transfer officials in the force based on performance assessments.

He also pledged he would thoroughly investigate all claims relating to Thun Min Lat and his drug smuggling network.

Last week, Move Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome petitioned the Judicial Commission to look into several judges over their role in the case.