The national police chief has ordered an investigation into the revocation of a warrant for the arrest of a senator suspected of involvement in a drug and money-laundering case allegedly connected to a Myanmar tycoon.
Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, the national police chief, said on Monday he had ordered the police’s Office of the Inspector-General to look into the issue. The case is connected to the prosecution of Myanmar tycoon Tun Min Latt.
Tun Min Latt was arrested in Bangkok in September last year on charges of conspiring to traffic narcotics and money laundering.
Pol Gen Damrongsak said police inspectors-general would find out why the investigative chief and investigative inspectors at the Metropolitan Police Bureau had not discussed the arrest warrant issue with the Narcotics Suppression Bureau (NSB) and the investigative commander of the MPB before they sought a court approval for the warrant on Oct 3 last year.
The arrest warrant was reportedly approved on the morning of Oct 3 but revoked later that day. The officers who had sought the arrest warrant were later transferred.
Pol Gen Damrongsak said supervisors had authority to transfer subordinates as they saw fit and that the drug and money-laundering case concerned another country, so it was under the jurisdiction of the attorney-general.
The attorney-general assigned the commander of the Narcotics Suppression Division 3 and a team of public prosecutors to handle the case from November last year, Pol Gen Damrongsak said.
The transfer of the detectives would not have any negative impact on the case, he added.
Despte the fact that the NSB had yet to call the senator for interrogation, Pol Gen Damrongsak claimed the issue had not been shelved but officers concerned were proceeding with it. Police inspectors-general would be best able to clarify the issue later, the police chief said.
Rangsiman Rome, MP from the opposition Move Forward Party, arrived at the NSB on Monday to ask why the senator had not been summoned for questioning after the parliament session had ended.
He asked if there had been any intervention in the case regarding the revocation of the arrest warrant, saying a senator would face unusually harsh punishment if found guilty.
Mr Rangsiman also said there no progress in the case had been made since the transfer of the police officers responsible for the Tun Min Latt case.
On Sunday night, Pol Maj Gen Khomsit Rangsai, commander of Narcotics Suppression Division 3, said Pol Lt Col Manapong Wongpiwat had handled the case when he was an investigative inspector at the MPB. He is now an investigative inspector at Phaya Thai police station.
Six suspects initially faced arrest warrants and four of them were apprehended. Later Pol Lt Col Manapong charged the senator, the commander said.
The senator had not been summoned for interrogation because about 1,000 pages of important documents had yet to be translated into Thai to prove the alleged crime, Pol Maj Gen Khomsit said, and the attorney-general had ordered additional interrogation in the case, .
He promised the case would be handled straightforwardly and no one was trying to influence it.