‘Scapegoat’ turns adversity into opportunity

national November 10, 2017 18:28

By Thawee Apichatsakul
The Nation

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A 48-year-old man, detained for seven months over a Bt15-million Bangkok diamond heist, before testimonies from 17 witnesses led to his acquittal in September, opened a coffee shop called “Pae Ching Phetch” (Diamond Heist Scapegoat) in his hometown Nakhon Phanom province on Friday.

Describing his exoneration almost as a resurrection from death, Pisit Suwanpim recalled that throughout the time behind bars, he believed in his innocence and that justice would prevail. “The first two months were hard but after that the prison officials learned about my ordeal and they became lenient and more supportive,” he recalled. He said he did not intend to sue those who had put him in jail, as he believed their karma would see to that. “I’m just happy that my family is back together,” he added.

Among those who came to congratulate him were Chatchai Thosinthiti from the office of the permanent secretary at the Justice Ministry, Muang Nakhon Phanom chief Ekkarat Maneekan, Nakhon Phanom prison director Decha Chaemchan as well as Department of Special Investigation (DSI) officials. Jomsap Saenmuangkhot, an ex-teacher who was jailed for 18 months over a fatal hit-and-run case in Nakhon Phanom in 2005 before receiving a royal pardon in 2015, was also present. She is awaiting a ruling from the Supreme Court over her claim of innocence.

Pisit was arrested in February while he was selling grilled pork in front of his rented house in Muang Nakhon Panom and was taken by police to a local resort for interrogation. The officers claimed that someone had filed a police complaint identifying Pisit as the culprit in the diamond heist in December 2016. However, almost 20 witnesses insisted that Pisit was at home selling food on the day of the heist, prompting the Thon Buri Court to acquit Pisit on September 26.

Pisit had one more key person to thank: his hairdresser-wife Dareewan Porwong, 47, who stood by him and filed a complaint with the DSI. It led to a DSI probe, which established that Pisit had been made a scapegoat. The agency fully assisted him by providing evidence to fight the allegation until Pisit was acquitted. 

So far no police officer has stepped forward to express any remorse over Pisit’s case.

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