Arrested police impersonator escapes

Friday, 17 August 2012 From Issue Vol. XX No. 33 By  Theerarak Suthathiwong

A Bangkok taxi driver arrested for impersonating a Royal Thai Police lieutenant escaped after Chonburi officers checked him into Banglamung Hospital.

Sethawuth Phanusithidechanont, 40, was last seen when a relative dropped him off near the Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort in Wong Amat Aug. 7.

Region 2 drug investigators had arrested the fugitive behind Thamsamakkee Temple a day earlier after discovering the national police badge he was carrying was fake.

Police held suspect Sethawuth Phanusithidechanont (seated) long enough to take this photo, but lost him later from Banglamung Hospital. Police held suspect Sethawuth Phanusithidechanont (seated) long enough to take this photo, but lost him later from Banglamung Hospital.

Police said Sethawuth confessed to buying the badge from a real Bangkok lieutenant, then renting a police uniform to wear for the police identification photo. Sethawuth claimed he did it because he wanted to help police and to scare off loan sharks pestering his mother.

Region 2 officers, however, suspected Sethawuth of using the badge to shake down narcotics dealers behind the Pattaya temple for drugs and money.

Sethawuth, however, claimed to be ill and local police obligingly dropped him off at Banglamung Hospital where the suspect called a relative and escaped.

Thirty other regional police officers have now been assigned to find him.

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