Published on September 9, 2007
Vowing to crack down on local influential figures and to restore the police's dignity and morale, Colonel Sommai Kongwisaisuk, acting provincial police commander, said he was not afraid and would order investigations into any officer allegedly under the influence of Sathiraporn Naksuk, president of the Yasothon Provincial Administration Organisation.
The police investigation has found that Wiroj Jaiphrom-muang, 29, was wanted for a drug-related case in Samut Prakan's Phra Pradaeng district, Sommai said, adding that he would ask Wiroj to elaborate on his comment that he beat up Sergeant Athit Daengdee on behalf of someone else.
Sommai said two committees were set to investigate if supervisors at Muang Yasothon Police Station allowed the assault to take place without acting against the aggressors, as well as to see if PAO president Sathiraporn's claim of not knowing the two assault suspects was true.
If Sathiraporn were behind the attack, he would be regarded as a dark force, not just an influential figure, he said.
Muang Yasothon police had interviewed six witnesses but did not summon Sathiraporn's side, as police could not contact him yet, he said.
Maj-General Amnuay Mahapol, deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region 3, said he believed Yasothon had no influential figures, only thugs. He would instruct all police to watch that these gangsters do not cause trouble, especially during the upcoming general election.
Many well-wishers continued to show their support for recuperating Athit.
The case drew public attention after Wednesday's protest by 100 police who were outraged over Athit's assault and his supervisors' inaction. The assault allegedly took place as Athit was apologising to Sathiraporn for reportedly slapping his teenage son's face during a concert on the night of September 1.
Abac Poll director Noppadol Kannikar said a recent survey of people in Provincial Police Regions 8 and 9 found that most agreed with senior police officers' transfers following the Yasothon assault and nearly all wanted police to maintain their integrity and ensure justice for all.
The poll also covered local police and 69 per cent said they had problems with policies, as they were not in line with supervisors in the past 12 months. And 86 per cent said insufficient budgets were the main obstacle to their work.
Most approved of the police reform plan, especially the decentralisation of command, while slightly over half agreed with the prime minister acting as the chairman of the national police policy board, but 30 per cent said otherwise.