PM tells police to prevent criminal suspects from talking to the media

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has instructed the police not to present criminal suspects before the media and not to allow the suspects to talk to the media.

The prime minister's latest directive for the police followed a recent press conference held at the Royal Thai Police and chaired by Pol Gen Chakthip Chaichinda to present to the media the suspected bomber, Mr Wattana Poommaret.

In the event, Wattana was seen whispering something with Pol Gen Chakthip and Pol Lt Gen Sanit Mahathavorn, the Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner, was also seen smiling with the suspect. Images of the event went viral in the social media and drew widespread criticism against the conduct of the two senior police officers.

Earlier police and immigration officials in Chiang Rai were heavily criticized by netizens over their display of friendliness and joking with three female suspects arrested in connection with the murder of a bar girl in Khon Kaen.

At an award presentation ceremony for outstanding individuals for their contributions to efforts to resolve narcotic problem, the prime minister said in his remarks that, from now on, criminal suspects must not be allowed to talk to the media at a press conference to avoid a repeat of a messy incident recently.

He said suspects should be allowed to talk during the justice procedure.

Responding to the prime minister's directive, Pol Gen Chakthip issued an order forbidding suspects in police custody to talk to the media under any circumstances. The media is also banned from taking photos or VDO of police with the suspects.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)