ABOUT 100 police officers from the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) yesterday searched seven locations in Kanchanaburi and summoned six people for questioning as part of its investigation into a highly-publicised dispute between retired policeman Charoon Wimul, 62, and teacher Preecha Kraikruan, 50, about the real ownership of five lottery tickets that won Bt30 million in the November 1 draw.
Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief Pol Lt-General Thitirat Nongharnpitak also attended the separate interviews with the six people – four unnamed policemen (one lieutenant colonel, one major, one captain and one senior sergeant-major) from the Muang Kanchanaburi precinct and two lottery female vendors – at the Highway 6 precinct in Kanchanaburi’s Panom Tuan district.
CSD chief Pol Maj-General Maitri Chimcherd later dismissed as untrue a rumour in social media that lottery vendor Rattanaporn “Jeh Babin” Supathip had confessed to lying about selling the winning tickets to Preecha. Maitri briefly said the investigation was still underway.
Meanwhile, Preecha told The Nation via phone that he continued to work at school and no police had questioned him yesterday. He said he would give information to CSD upon request so that this case would finally be over.
The controversy hit the headlines after Preecha complained to police that he had bought and lost five tickets that had later won the jackpot in the November 1 draw, and which were then collected by Charoon. Although the retired policeman insisted he bought the tickets and collected the prize, police had frozen the remaining Bt24.35-million prize money in Charoon’s bank account pending investigation.
Despite a previous DNA test result showing that Charoon handled the tickets, Provincial Police Region 7 chief Pol Lt-General Kittipong Ngaomuk had announced that Preecha was the owner of the tickets and Charoon would be charged with embezzlement and receiving stolen items.
National police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda this week said the CSD police, which have taken over this investigation from the Provincial Police Region 7 and was probing an alleged organised gang behind the attempt to claim the winning lottery ownership, would conclude the case by the end of this month.
With the Civil Court slated to hear a May 1 trial to determine which of the two men had a legitimate claim to owning the lottery tickets, Charoon this week offered to drop his compliant against Preecha if the teacher admitted his guilt. Charoon has also filed a defamation complaint against Preecha. However, Preecha continued to insist that he is telling the truth and said will fight the case in court.