Prawet police chief 'lost' drugs

Prawet district chief Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan and his men seized 76kg of marijuana but only 39kg made it to the evidence room at the station (above). (File photo)

The chief of Prawet police is facing a temporary transfer pending a probe into missing marijuana seized as evidence late last month.

An order was issued by the Metropolitan Police Division (MPD) 4 shifting Pol Col Thongchai Wilaiprom to an inactive post at the division for 30 days while a probe into the "lost" marijuana is under way.

A total of 76 kilogrammes of compressed marijuana was taken away as evidence during a raid led by Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan, chief of Patrol and Special Operation Division, in Soi Kanchanaphisek 18 in the Saphan Sung area at the end of last month.

The marijuana was found hidden in undergrowth near the workers' living quarters at a construction site.

The marijuana was brought by a deputy chief investigator of Prawet police for examination at the police forensic centre.

However, only 37kg of the drug was brought back to the police station after the examination, according to Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) commissioner Sanit Mahathavorn.

Pol Lt Gen Sanit admitted the issue worried him as police may be implicated in wrongdoing. He vowed to order swift disciplinary and criminal actions against any officers who were found to have stolen the drug. The probe was set up with authorisation from MPD 4 chief Nanthachart Suphamongkol.

A police source said the marijuana was among crime items seized which were put on display at a recent press briefing by the MPB.

Pol Lt Gen Sanit noticed more than half of the marijuana which was supposed to have been shown had disappeared. He immediately instructed Pol Maj Gen Nanthachart to launch an inquiry.

Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan, meanwhile, said the Prawet police chief may be investigated over the issue.

The police source said Pol Maj Gen Nanthachart had issued a verbal order to probe Pol Sub Lt Sompong Wongthip, the deputy chief investigator of Prawet police who delivered the marijuana for examination. The probe may be expanded to include other officers at the station.

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