Thailand: policeman “Joe Ferrari”, a figure of corruption, was sentenced to life in prison

Thailand: policeman “Joe Ferrari”, a figure of corruption, was sentenced to life in prison

BANGKOK | A Thai policeman nicknamed “Joe Ferrari” because of his extravagant taste in luxury cars was sentenced to life in prison on Wednesday for torturing a suspect to death during interrogation in a drug-trafficking case.

A Bangkok court found Thitisan Utthanaphon guilty of torture. The case had sparked social media and shed light on the kingdom’s police corruption.

Videos that went viral online showed Thitisan and six other officers tying seven plastic bags on the head of a 24-year-old suspect while interrogating him and trying to extort $60,000 from him, causing his death.

A judge at Bangkok’s High Criminal Court, which deals with corruption and misconduct cases, sentenced the 41-year-old police officer to death, but immediately commuted it to life in prison, with the defendant trying to resuscitate his victim and pay the costs. family funeral. .

“I felt helpless during the trial, and my wife was crying,” Jakkrit Klandi, the victim’s father, said outside the court. “Seven policemen must learn a lesson and pay for their crimes”.

Five of the six other officers involved in the case were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. A seventh was sentenced to five years and four months, following his testimony.

Thitisan and other police officers have one month to appeal against the decision.

After the images were released in August 2021, the policeman, head of a police station 250 kilometers from Bangkok, surrendered to police, who had searched his mansion and discovered several luxury cars, including a Lamborghini estimated to be 1.6 million dollars.

Almost one in two Thai citizens say they have paid a bribe to the police in the past 12 months, according to a Transparency International study published in late 2020.

Thailand has dropped 19 places since 2014 in the corruption list released by this NGO, falling to 104.e places in 180 countries.