Chuwit leads netizens'fury over return of Chalerm's son to police service

national July 28, 2012 00:00

By The Nation

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A son of Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung has been reenlisted as a police officer, switching from an Army unit, while netizens on the social network criticised the move due to his trial in a murder case in the past though he was eventually acquitt

The appointment of Duang Yoobamrung as a police lieutenant under the Metropolitan Police Bureau caused confusion even in Royal Thai Police leadership. RTP spokesman Pol LtGeneral Piya Uthayo dismissed the news in a statement earlier. However, Bureau commander Pol LtGeneral Khamronwit Thoopkrajang later confirmed that he had signed the appointment.

The appointment document was posted and circulated online on many social network, including that of Rak Thailand Party leader Chuwit Kamolvisit. Chuwit questioned Duang’s return to the police ranks after he was discharged and stripped off his rank before standing trial for murder in a muchheralded pub brawl and shooting case a decade ago before being finally acquitted.

Piya, in his statement, had denied Duang had been appointed or the issue had been submitted to the next Police Commission meeting for a reshuffle nomination. Khamronwit said later in the afternoon that he had signed the appointment, after the document was posted online. Duang will be an officer at a training centre under the MPB, effective from August 1. Piya has stayed silent since.

Chuwit, on his Facebook page, was highly critical of Duang’s appointment, openly referring to a shooting to death of a junior policeman who had a brawl with Duang, then Duangchalerm, on October 29, 2001 at Twenty Ratchada Pub.

Duang absconded for 187 days and appeared at the Thai Embassy in Malaysia, before standing trial for murder. He was discharged from service and stripped off his rank inabsentia, on November 15 and 16 that same year respectively. He was acquitted by the court and public prosecutors decided not to appeal against his acquittal. Duang was enlisted in the Army during the Samak government when Chalerm was the interior minister.

Duang said that he had himself sought the transfer from the Army to the RTP as he felt more familiar with police work than Army service, and Chalerm played no part in it.

He declined to give an interview, citing police regulations and lack of permission from his superiors.

National Police chief Pol General Priewpan Damapong said Duang would be instructor at a pistol shooting course for policemen because of his expertise in it. He admitted that the appointment was “hastened” but added that “given his capability and usefulness, his appointment is appropriate.”

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