Phuket former land officer hangs himself

A former land officer in Phuket province has taken his own life at the custody of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) which is investigating encroachment of forest and national parks in Phuket by influential people and businessmen.

DSI director-general Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang confirmed this morning that Mr Thawatchai Anukul, former land officer in Phuket, hanged himself in the DSI prison in Bangkok last night.

The DSI chief said officials found him hanged himself with the shirt he wore while inspecting the order in the cells late last night.

He was immediately rushed to a nearest hospital but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

He said the DSI officials were scheduled to escort the former land officer from the DSI cell to the Criminal Court this morning for permission to extend his detention period.

The former land officer was accused of issuing land title deeds worth tens of thousands of baht to influential people and businessmen in Phuket and Phang Nga provinces.

He said the exact cause of his death is still under examination by forensic police.

But he said the former land officer faced several charges involving the illegal issuance of land ownership in forest reserves and national park areas in the two provinces.

He was earlier sentenced in prison by provincial court and was also facing investigation of malfeasance by the DSI.

He said initially he was believed to take his own life out of extreme stress from facing several charges.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)