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First load of Phuket mafia taxi cases handed over to prosecutor

Having yesterday (July 1) handed over more than 5,000 pages of depositions and evidence to the Phuket Provincial Chief Public Prosecutor in the “mafia” taxi investigation, Maj Gen Paween Pongsirin is preparing to move on to the next area of his investigation.

Gen Paween, the Commander of the General Staff Division, Provincial Police Region 8, told The Phuket News, “Today, I feel relieved that I and my team have been able to hand all these cases over to the top prosecutor on the island.

taxi mafia phuket arrests“Now we can move to the next step [in the taxi crackdown]. Patong and Phuket International Airport are on the list for sure.”

In the small convoy that took the papers from Phuket City Police Station to the prosecutor’s office was a barred-window bus containing four men: three taxi drivers and the sour-looking Mayor of Karon, Thawee Thongcham.

Thawee arrived at 9:30 this morning with three people from his legal team. He then suffered the humiliation of being loaded into the paddy wagon for a ride to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, trying all the time to avoid being photographed.

He was accompanied on his ride by three accused taxi drivers, Malit Bensu, Aree Matlai and Suthat Saikhao.

At his office just off Sakdidej Soi 1, the Chief Prosecutor, Pisitpol Phumisirisawas, told The Phuket News, “This case is attracting a lot of interest because the issue has caused problems for many people and has had an effect on tourism.

“For this reason it has been designated a special case and the findings of the police and our findings must be reported to the Region 8 Public Prosecution Office in Surat Thani.

“I will be setting up a prosecutors’ committee to work on this because there is a great deal of detail in the evidence that has to be considered.

“But it won’t take long to deal with the taxi cases [including Thawee’s case] – about a month. Then we will decide who we will prosecute.”

Phuket News

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