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Police Dug Deeper Into Decision to
Subject: Police Dug Deeper Into Decision to Grant Li bail
The Nation (July 2nd, 1997)
Police dig deeper into decision to grant Li bail
Justice Ministry ordered to investigate officials
POLICE investigating court officials implicated in arranging bail for a
drug suspect wanted in connection with a heroin haul in the United
States sought an investigation report of former criminal court deputy
chief justice Somchai Udomwong.
Pol Lt Gen Bunsri Hunsawat, assistant police chief, said police have
asked the Judicial Commission for its investigation report of Somchai,
who it decided on Monday to dismiss without pension.
Bunsri chairs the police committee investigating the allegation that
criminal court officials accepted bribes from Li Yun-chung, alias
Pongsak Rojanasakul, in return for helping to arrange the bail order.
The Judicial Commission found Somchai had abused his judicial discretion
for granting Li bail on Feb 7 during an extradition hearing for his
suspected involvement in a 1991 shipment of 486 kilogrammes of heroin
into the US.
Li was alleged to have paid Bt13 million through go-betweens for the
The Judicial Commission concluded that Somchai had an ulterior motive
behind his ruling to grant bail, but that he may not have been the
recipient of the bribe.
Deputy Police Chief Salang Bunnag said investigators need substantial
evidence to file criminal charges against any officials involved in the
''In a disciplinary investigation, you can be fired if you only tarnish
the image and reputation of your organisation," Salang said.
"But in a criminal investigation, there must be proof," he added.
He said Li, who was extradited to the US last month and arraigned in
Brooklyn (New York) federal court on drug trafficking charges, has not
given any statements which could be used as evidence.
''The US police are assisting us with the matter," he said.
Criminal Court Chief Justice Pradit Ek-manee said that he will request
the Justice Ministry to establish a fact-finding commission to
investigate other criminal court officials who are also alleged to be
involved in the bail arrangement.
''For transparency, the ministry should set up the panel by itself," he
The 11-member panel which investigated Somchai included Thon Buri
Criminal Court Chief Justice Pramot Bunnag, and Thon Buri Criminal Court
Deputy Chief Justices Thonglor Chomngam and Somsak Netmai.
"THERE WILL BE NO REAL DEMOCRACY IF WE CAN'T GURANTEE THE RIGHTS OF THE
MINORITY ETHNIC PEOPLE. ONLY UNDERSTANDING THEIR SUFFERING AND HELPING
THEM TO EXERCISE THEIR RIGHTS WILL ASSIST PREVENTING FROM THE
DISINTEGRATION AND THE SESESSION." "WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING THEIR
STRENGTH, WE CAN'T TOPPLE THE SLORC AND BURMA WILL NEVER BE IN PEACE."
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