Sprawling mansion and car collection of fugitive Thai cop accused of torturing suspect to death for £44k bribe
Astonishing footage shows the sprawling mansion and car collection of a fugitive Thai cop accused of torturing a suspect to death to extract a £44k bribe.
Police Colonel Thitisan Utthanaphon – nicknamed Joe Ferrari for his love of supercars – allegedly demanded the drugs suspect double his one million baht (22,000 GBP) bribe to two million.
CCTV cameras from the station in Nakhon Sawan, northern Thailand, appeared to show the cop wrapping several plastic bags around the head of Jirapong Thanapat, 24, on August 5.
However, the suspect later collapsed and died the next day in hospital. Joe Ferrari recorded the death as a ‘drugs overdose’ and blackmailed the suspect’s girlfriend – who was arrested with him – by letting her go free on the condition she did not speak.
A shocked junior office at the station leaked the video to a lawyer this week who publicly demanded the officers face justice.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha ordered an investigation into the death and five of the seven cops allegedly involved have been arrested but Joe Ferrari and one other are understood to be still on the run.
Officers stormed the mansion of the fugitive cop – whose salary was 43,000 Baht a month or 954 GBP – and found a staggering collection of cars in several garages overlooking a large swimming pool.
These included a Bentley Continental GT, Ferrari 488 GTB, several Mercedes and Porsche cars along with a number of saloons and people carriers and a Lamborghini limited-edition Aventador LP 720-4 50 Anniversary special, which he claimed to be the first person in the country to own.
Two young women in their pyjamas at the home claimed they had not heard from the policeman, who is now being hunted by the country’s top police chief.
National police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk, who is overseeing the investigation, immediately sacked the officers allegedly involved in the death.
He said: ‘We have watched the clip and believe the officers have committed an offence. The video is authentic. They will be dismissed from the police force and a serious disciplinary investigation will be launched.’
Police Colonel Kissana Phathanacharoen, Deputy Spokesman f the Roya Thai Police, said: ‘The Nakhon Sawan Provincial Court issued arrest warrants for the seven police officers involved in the incident.
‘They are charged with omission to act causing injury to others, jointly coercing someone, and joint murder by torture.
‘We have detained so far five offenders while detective teams have worked round the clock to arrest the remaining two at large.’
Police General Suwat Jangyodsuk, Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police said they have set up a team of detectives and inquiry officers to work on the case.
He said: ‘We ordered all police units concerned to do everything to their fullest capacity to arrest the other two offenders on the run. Legal and disciplinary actions have seriously been taken to ensure justice is rendered and gain public confidence.’
Alleged corrupt cop Joe Ferrari graduated from the Royal Police Cadet Academy in Bangkok before becoming known as one of the best drug enforcement officers in the country.
He was also known as a ‘playboy’ who dated models and boasted a collection of sports cars
Ex-girlfriend Pichanak ‘May’ Sakakorn, a Thai actress, even claimed that Joe had ordered officers to spy on her while she was on holiday before turning up at her parent’s house to order her online rants about him to be deleted.
Despite being illegal, bribes are a widely accepted part of the Thai justice system with officers across the country accepting payments in order for cases to be dropped.