THE AUTHORITIES are investigating the death of a suspect in a high-profile lese majeste case who was found hanged while in military detention on Friday night.
Justice Minister General Paiboon Koomchaya said yesterday the Corrections Department had reported to him the death of Pol Major Prakrom Warunprapa, who was charged with violating Article 112 of the Penal Code along with well-known fortune-teller Suriyan Sujaritpolwong and his secretary Jirawong Wattanathewasilp.
Paiboon said he had ordered the Corrections Department to investigate the incident and report its findings to him as soon as possible.
At about 10pm on Friday, Prakrom tried to hang himself with a shirt |in his room at a temporary deten-|tion facility at the 11th Military |Circle, Corrections Department |director-general Vitaya Suriyawong said in a statement released yester-day.
A night-shift guard found Prakrom hanging and saved him. He was still alive at the time and was taken to the Corrections Department’s hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, the director-general said.
Death to be investigated
Vitaya, currently in Australia, said the department was required by law to investigate the death of anyone who had died in custody.
He said Prakrom’s body would be sent to the Royal Thai Police’s Institute of Forensic Medicine for autopsy.
The Bangkok Remand Prison, which oversees the detention facility at the 11th Military Circle, has set up a fact-finding committee to look into the incident, and the findings will be reported to higher authorities, he added.
Prakrom, formerly a superintendent at the Technology Crime Suppression Division, was being held at a facility on Nakhon Chaisri Road along with the other two suspects in the case. They were being held in separate rooms.
They admitted to wrongly citing the monarchy to make personal gains, according to police, who have confiscated a number of their assets.
On Wednesday, the military court approved a police request to detain the trio for a longer period, as investigators are still working on the case.
Rumours on Mor Yong denied
Vitaya has denied a rumour |spread on social media that Suriyan, who is better known as Mor Yong, became seriously ill and had to be hospitalised.
He said Suriyan suffered from high blood pressure and was treated by a military doctor at the 11th Military Circle and was still being detained.
He said the detention rooms differed from normal prison cells, as they had concrete walls that made it difficult to see inside.
Anti-Money Laundering Office deputy secretary-general Suwanee Sawangpol said Prakrom’s death would result in a criminal case against him ending although his death would not affect the civil proceedings.
She said AMLO’s monetary transaction committee would convene on Thursday to determine whether the agency had the authority to confiscate and seize assets of the three suspects.
National police chief General Chakthip Chaijinda yesterday instructed police investigators to complete their probe into the case within three weeks.
He said the investigators had completed about 80 per cent of the work.
The team is led by assistant national police chief Lt-General Srivara Rangsitbhramanakul.