CSD wraps up lottery fraud probe

The cash prizes totalling 30 million baht for this set of tickets have been frozen by the Government Lottery Office until ownership is settled. (Post Today photo)

Police are to meet on Monday to wrap up the investigation summary of the 30-million-baht lottery fraud case and to announce who will be charged, according to Crime Suppression Division (CSD).

CSD chief Pol Maj Gen Maitri Chimcherd said Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) deputy chief Charn Wimonsri has asked to postpone the meeting from yesterday to tomorrow. The meeting will also disclose who the real owner of the winning ticket is and who will be charged in connection with the case.

Pol Maj Gen Charn said yesterday the investigators were close to finalising the the disputed lottery prize after evidence was collected and witnesses questioned. He says he plans to review the summary today before presenting it to his superior, CIB chief Thitirat Nongharnpitak.

The case involved many suspects, but Pol Maj Gen Charn could not confirm if they were operating as a gang. The summary includes the test results of forensic evidence. Some of the suspects questioned earlier may be treated as witnesses, said Pol Maj Gen Charn.

The case was initially investigated by the local police in Kanchanaburi, where the lottery tickets were bought, before being transferred to the CSD.

Pol Maj Gen Charn said the CSD has conducted an in-depth investigation that does not duplicate the local law enforcement‘s work, adding that they are not trying to pick fault with their findings.

Five local police officers are being probed in connection with the case. Four of the suspects were summoned to the Kanchanaburi-based Highway Police station 6 in Phanom Thuan district for questioning by the CSD investigators to find out if their previous probe of the case was transparent or if evidence had been fabricated.

Besides the provincial police chief Pol Maj Gen Suthi Puangpikul, the other officers under investigation include a police lieutenant colonel, a police captain, a police lieutenant and a police senior sergeant major. All work at Muang Kanchanaburi police station. Their names were not disclosed.

The lottery dispute involved a teacher in Kanchanaburi, Preecha Kraikruan, who claimed the prize-winning tickets worth 30 million baht, and retired policeman Pol Lt Jaroon Wimol, who was in possession of them before they were seized by authorities investigating the rival claims.

Mr Preecha filed a complaint with local police against Pol Lt Jaroon for embezzlement in December. The award of the cash prize was then placed on hold pending a settlement of the dispute.

Local police said they believed the tickets belonged to Mr Preecha, but the case was later handed to the CSD.

Yesterday, Mr Preecha said he has not met Ratanaporn Supathip, the vendor from whom he allegedly bought the winning lottery tickets, since the start of the investigation.

It was previously rumoured that Ms Ratanaporn told police she did not sell the tickets to Mr Preecha. However, the CSD chief denied the rumour, saying the investigation has not been completed.

A witness identified only as Phaen has changed his statement given to police. At the start of the probe, he reportedly said that Pol Lt Jaroon had picked up the lottery tickets from the floor at the market in Kanchanaburi. He later changed his statement and said somebody who looked like Pol Lt Jaroon had picked up the tickets.

Meanwhile, Mr Preecha told a reporter yesterday that the rumour about Ms Ratanaporn originated from a webpage which has spread misinformation. He said he has always said that he purchased the tickets from Ms Ratanaporn.

He added that he was not concerned that the police might charge some people who may have lied in the case.

A CSD source said the police had an audio clip of a conversation between a man and a woman. The man was heard telling the woman to retrieve the winning lottery tickets she had sold to someone else and give them to him.

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