Lottery jackpot focus switches to Kanchanaburi police

Five senior members of the Kanchanaburi force have been called in for questioning about ‘fabricated evidence’ in the lottery ticket case. (Photo police7.go.th)

Kanchanaburi: Five local police officers are being investigated in a 30-million-baht lottery ticket case involving a teacher and a retired policeman.

The four were summoned to Kanchanaburi-based Highway Police station 6 in Phanom Thuan district for questioning by Crime Suppression Division (CSD) investigators to find out if their previous probe of the case was transparent or if evidence had been fabricated.

Besides the provincial police chief Pol Maj Gen Suthi Puangpikul, the other officers being investigated are a police lieutenant colonel, a police captain, a police lieutenant and a police senior sergeant major. All work at Muang Kanchanaburi police station.

Their names were not revealed.

The dispute involves Preecha Kraikruan, a teacher in Kanchanaburi who claims he purchased the winning tickets, and retired Pol Lt Jaroon Wimol, who was in possession of them until they were seized by authorities investigating the rival claims.

Mr Preecha filed a complaint with local police against Pol Lt Jaroon for embezzlement in December. The award of the cash prize was then on hold pending a conclusion of the dispute. Local police had said they believed the tickets belonged to Mr Preecha, but the case was later transferred to the CSD.

The case reached the provincial court on Monday with both parties in attendance. It was the first time the two men had met face to face since the case was made public late last year.

Besides the five officers, Mr Preecha’s three witnesses including lottery ticket vendor Ratanaporn Supathip were also questioned.

Ms Ratanaporn was accompanied to the police station by her lawyer Iamsa-ard Panawat and “Chae” Phat, her friend who is also a lottery vendor. They were questioned by investigators separately.

Ratanaporn: Testimony changes

The two other witnesses are a woman and a man identified only as Dussadee and Phaen, respectively. Their real names were not disclosed.

Mr Phaen changed his account Thursday, from saying Pol Lt Jaroon picked up a lottery ticket from the floor at the market to “somebody resembling Pol Lt Jaroon” picking it up.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said on Tuesday that based on the the investigation so far, someone must be prosecuted, adding anyone found to have been involved in providing false witnesses and fabricating evidence would be held accountable.

Also Thursday, CSD chief Pol Maj Gen Maitri Chimcherd denied a rumour that Ms Ratanaporn confessed to police she did not sell the winning lottery tickets to Mr Preecha, saying the investigation has not been completed yet.

Meanwhile, Mr Preecha insisted in a telephone interview with a reporter that he did purchase the lottery tickets from Ms Rattanaporn.

He insisted this was the case when asked about some media reports claiming the ticket vendor had already admitted to Central Investigation Bureau chief Thitiraj Nhongharnpitak that she didn’t actually sell the lottery tickets to the teacher as previously claimed.

Those reports were simply rumours published online, he said, adding that the public should wait until the police make further official statements regarding the investigation.

Pol Lt Jaroon also said in another phone interview with the same reporter that he wasn’t aware of any news about the lottery vendor’s confession, so he had no opinion on the matter.

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