Court upholds sentence for corruption official who pointed gun at cabbie

BANGKOK: The Appeal Court has upheld the lower court’s sentencing of a senior official at the National Anti-Corruption Commission to one year in jail, suspended for two years, and fining him B31,000 for threatening a taxi driver with a pistol at the government complex in Bangkok in October 2018.

A still shot from the taxi dashboard camera video shows Piset Nakapan pointing his gun at the car stopped behind him. Image: from เฮียขับรถ @hearonboard / Facebook

The court rejected an appeal by prosecutors against the suspension of the prison term. The ruling was read out at the Criminal Court on Tuesday, reports the Bangkok Post.

Piset Nakapan, 56, who is an assistant secretary-general of the NACC, was charged with coercion with use of a weapon in violation of Section 309 of the Criminal Code, carrying a firearm in public and threatening others, offences under Sections 371 and 392 of the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act.

The incident happened inside the grounds of the government complex on Chaeng Wattana Road in Bangkok’s Laksi district on Oct 10, 2010. 

The taxi’s dashboard camera recording showed Mr Pisit getting out of his black Honda car, which had stopped in front of the cab, and pointing his pistol at the cabbie.

Mr Piset, also known as Phusit Nakapan, pointed the loaded .38 Colt at taxi driver Pipat Seesa-on. He then said, “Why are you following me? Drive back and use another road.’”

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The Criminal Court initially handed down a two-year prison sentence and fine of B62,000. The sentence was commuted by half to one year in jail and a fine of B31,000 because the defendant confessed.

The court suspended his prison term for two years and ordered him to report to probation officials every four months.  

The prosecutors appealed against the suspended jail term and the Appeal Court’s ruling was initially scheduled on Jan 19. However, Mr Piset sought a postponement, saying he had to take his mother to hospital that day.

The Appeal Court said Mr Piset had used the gun to threaten the damaged party. There was no evidence that he intended to shoot the taxi driver. 

The court found his actions were not that serious. He had not been previously indicted for any offence. The court upheld the lower court’s judgement.

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