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Turbulent Thailand

Thailand torture video pressures PM to push police reforms

Prayuth's pledge has not changed culture of violence, critics say

The victim can be seen with a plastic bag over his head in this captured image from the leaked video that went viral last month, drawing 3.6 million views. (Source photos by Reuters and website)

BANGKOK -- Thailand's police have suffered another blow to their reputation from the release of a video that appears to show a man dying in custody with a plastic bag over his head. But the deadly interrogation method is not the work of just one rogue officer, according to retired senior members of a force that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha had pledged to reform after he staged the 2014 coup.

The video, which leaked last month and went viral, drawing 3.6 million views, allegedly shows 24-year-old Jeerapong Thanapat, who had been arrested in Nakhon Sawan, 250 km north of the capital, on suspicion of selling methamphetamine pills, suffocating to death as officers demanded 2 million baht ($60,000) for his freedom. The superintendent of the station, Col. Thitisan Utthanaphon, nicknamed "Joe Ferrari" for his sports car collection, was later arrested.

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