Department of Special Investigation

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Department of Special Investigation
Logo of the Department of Special Investigation.jpg
Department overview
Formed 3 October 2002 (2002-10-03)
Type Ministerial department
Jurisdiction Government of Thailand
Headquarters Bangkok, Thailand
Department executive
  • Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang, Director-General
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).[1] 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.[2][3][4]


Organizational structure[edit]

  • 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

Notable cases[edit]

  • 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.[6][7][8][9] 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.[10][11] Other criticisms of DSI's handling of the case include continuing to pursue the charges after the affected credit union withdrew charges,[12][13] in violation of Thai Criminal Procedure Code Section 39(2).[14][15]


Tawatchai Incident[edit]

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.[16][17] 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.[17]

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.[18] DSI also announced that their CCTV servers had malfunctioned at the time and therefore there were no recordings from security cameras of the incident.[19]

Article 44 Death[edit]

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.[20] DSI, however, claimed that the temple did not actually notify emergency services until after the follower had died.[21][22] 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.[22][21][23] The authenticity of the messages was not disputed by DSI, however DSI still denied delaying emergency services.[23]

Corruption in the ranks[edit]

  • 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.[24]


  1. ^ "Law enforcement agency tries to shake off shackles". Bangkok Post. 10 May 2009. 
  2. ^ "Thailand: Effort underway to define functions of Department of Special Investigation". Thai Press Reports. 8 March 2007. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Thai special investigation team must politically freed: senior official". People's Daily Online. Xinhua. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  4. ^ Laohong, King-oua (1 September 2012). "Famed crime fighter bows out". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  5. ^ Satyaem, Chaiwat (2015-09-02). "Supreme Court clears former park chief in 'Billy' case". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 6 May 2018. 
  6. ^ Marshall, Andrew R.C. (16 June 2016). "Meditating devotees shield scandal-hit abbot from Thai police". Reuters. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  7. ^ Rojanaphruk, Pravit (12 June 2016). "Yellow and Red Seen in Orange in Dhammakaya Scandal". Khaosod English. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  8. ^ Liusuwan, Nicholas. "Complexities of Thai Buddhism". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  9. ^ "Social Media Campaign Launched by Dhammakaya Followers". Digital Journal. 13 June 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  10. ^ "Interview of Deputy Prosecutor Mr. Paramat Intarachumum". TNN. 26 May 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  11. ^ "Interview with former Police General Sereepisuth Temiyaves". Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  12. ^ "คุยข่าวเล่าธรรม04 06 59". Peace TV. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 16 July 2016. 
  13. ^ Credit union request an end to all civil and criminal lawsuits against Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Thai News Network, 29 April 2016, retrieved 14 December 2016 
  14. ^ "The Criminal Procedure Code" (PDF). UNODC. Retrieved 16 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "Peace TV Interviews Lawyer: Legal Code Supports Venerable Dhammajayo's Innocence". Dhammakaya Uncovered. Retrieved 16 July 2016. 
  16. ^ Laohong, King-Oua (2 September 2016). "Arrested former lands official found dead in DSI cell". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  17. ^ a b TAMNUKASETCHAI, PIYANUCH (2 September 2016). "Death of land official shrouded in mystery". The Nation. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  18. ^ Laohong, King-Oua (1 September 2016). "Doctor dismisses DSI's cause of suspect's death theory". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  19. ^ THAMNUKASETCHAI, PIYANUCH (8 September 2016). "Probe into suspect's death in DSI custody to be concluded in 30 days: police". The Nation. Retrieved 18 September 2016. 
  20. ^ "Dhammakaya follower dies of asthma after ambulance stopped by troops: monk spokesman". The Nation. Retrieved 2017-03-02. 
  21. ^ a b "Find facts in temple death" (Opinion). Bangkok Post. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-04. 
  22. ^ a b Sattaburuth, Aekarach; Wongyala, Pongpat (2017-03-03). "Government slams 'fake news' from temple". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2017-03-04. 
  23. ^ a b Charuvastra, Teeranai (2017-03-02). "DSI Denies Blockade Responsible for Death of Dhammakaya Disciple". Khaosod English. Retrieved 2017-03-04. 
  24. ^ "Tarit gets small fine, suspended jail for undeclared wealth". Bangkok Post. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 19 January 2018. 

External links[edit]