Department of Special Investigation
|Formed||3 October 2002|
|Jurisdiction||Government of Thailand|
|Parent department||Ministry of Justice|
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is a department of the Ministry of Justice of Thailand. It operates independently of the Royal Thai Police and is tasked with the investigation of certain "special cases". These include complex criminal cases, those affecting national security, those involving organised criminal organisations and those potentially implicating high-ranking government officials or police officers.
The DSI is often referred to as Thailand's counterpart to the United States' Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Since its inception, the DSI has seen conflicts with the police over jurisdiction and authority over cases, and department officials have publicly expressed concern that the department's work has been consistently subject to political interference.
- Office of the Director
- Law Department
- Office of Foreign Affairs and International Crimes
- Office of Financial Litigation
- Office of Security
- Office of Consumer and Environmental Protection
- Office of Intellectual Property Litigation
- Office of Technology and Information Technology Case
- Office of Tax Lawsuit
- Office of Special Criminal 1
- Office of Special Criminal 2
- Office of Special Criminal 3
- Office of Technology and Information Monitoring Center
- Office of Policy and Strategy
- Office of Special Cases
- Office of Special Operations
- Office of Special Case Development and Support
- As of 2014, the agency is still investigating the (claimed) death of Somchai Neelapaijit. In 2014 the disappearance of Billy Rakchongcharoen, a Karen rights activist, resulted in his wife petitioning the agency to "take up the issue for consideration as a special case".
- In 2016, DSI opened a much publicized case against the abbot of Wat Phra Dhammakaya after some funds from an alleged embezzlement case was traced to donations made to the temple. The case has been described as a proxy war between supporters and opponents of the temple. One of the most criticized and debated aspects of DSI's handling of the case was its refusal to give the abbot his charges at the temple. Other criticisms of DSI's handling of the case include continuing to pursue the charges after the affected credit union withdrew charges, in violation of Thai Criminal Procedure Code Section 39(2).
On 30 August 2016 it was reported by DSI that one of the suspects they had detained was allegedly found unconscious and hanging in his cell. The suspect, Tawatchai Anukul, who was a suspect in a case of land deed fraud, was then rushed to Mongkutwattana Hospital in which he was later pronounced dead after several attempts at revival. DSI gave conflicting reports about how Tawatchai was found, with one official stating he likely committed suicide by hanging himself with his shirt, while another official later gave a report stating he was found hanging by his socks. Tawatchai's family members also reported that DSI gave them contradictory information regarding his death. For instance, family members pointed out that the wound on Tawatchai's neck looked like it came from a wire rather than clothing.
An autopsy revealed that Tawatchai had died of a ruptured liver, suggesting blunt trauma, as well as suffocation. DSI stated that the liver rupture was due to the hospital team performing CPR on Tawatchai in an attempt to revive him, which the hospital dismissed as not possible. DSI also announced that their CCTV servers had malfunctioned at the time and therefore there were no recordings from security cameras of the incident.
Article 44 Death
During the 23 day lockdown of Wat Phra Dhammakaya in 2017 that junta leader Prayut Chan-o-Cha ordered using article 44 of the interim constitution, one follower within the temple died of an asthma attack during the operation. According to temple spokespeople, the death was caused by a hold up of an ambulance at the junta's blockade that delayed emergency response. DSI, however, claimed that the temple did not actually notify emergency services until after the follower had died. DSI stepped back from this statement later, when the temple revealed time stamped LINE messages asking for emergency services that supported Wat Phra Dhammakaya's account of the timeline. The authenticity of the messages was not disputed by DSI, however DSI still denied delaying emergency services.
Corruption in the ranks
- Tarit Pengdith, former director-general of DSI until his dismissal in 2014, was accused by the NACC of hiding assets while serving as DSI director-general. The NACC found that Tarit had amassed unexplained wealth of 346.65 million baht during his 12 years at DSI. The supreme court found Tarit guilty and sentenced him to six months in jail and a fine of 10,000 baht, commuted to a three-month term and a fine of 5,000 baht because he confessed. It suspended the jail term for two years because he had not previously been sentenced to prison.
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