shandcuffed suspect shot

Bangkok – Thai police shot dead a suspected drug dealer who allegedly tried to grab a gun from the arresting officers when his hands were cuffed behind his back, news reports said Sunday.

Police shot Manit Toommuang, 24, in his apartment in Ratchaburi province shortly after the man allegedly killed a police officer at a checkpoint, the Bangkok Post reported.

Police claimed the slaying was in self defence as Manit attempted to seize a gun when they were inspecting his apartment. Shortly before the slaying Manit was photographed with his hands cuffed.

Manit, suspected to be a member of a drug gang, had broken through a police checkpoint Saturday driving a motorcycle with his girlfriend sitting pillion, the report said.

Police pursued the pair and a shootout ensued in which one police officer and Manit’s girlfriend, Sunisa Yupan, were killed.

Manit was captured, handcuffed and taken to his apartment where he was shot.

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1 Response to shandcuffed suspect shot

  1. pressinthai says:

    1998 FEER report, for example, described a drug bust in Suphanburi intentionally conducted under “the gaze of scores of reporters and cameramen.” Despite the glare, the police felt no qualms about shooting (off-camera but within earshot) six suspects dead, all of whom were handcuffed. Sanoh Thienthong, then Minister of Interior, said afterwards that the suspects deserved to die.

    Cuffed cop killer shot by police at his home

    RATCHABURI : A member of a drug gang who killed a policeman at a checkpoint was shot dead by police at his apartment hours later.

    He is the second member of the gang to be killed by police since early May.

    Manit Toommuang, alias Tong Donsai, 24, was killed at his apartment yesterday, after shooting dead an officer at a checkpoint hours before.

    Police captured him after he broke through a police checkpoint in tambon Wang Yen in Bang Phae district of Ratchaburi.

    They took him back to his apartment intending to search it, when he allegedly made a grab for an officer’s gun.

    Shortly before Manit was shot, he was pictured on his couch. His hands were handcuffed behind his back.

    Police say he nonetheless managed to make a grab for the gun, so they shot and killed him.

    Still going strong, a la Thaksin.

    Summary justice is, after all, still justice…

    Please… rely upon the cops as judge, jury, and executioner? Is that what they teach you at Cornell?

    To ‘fix’ this problem will require something beyond ‘professionalization’ and ‘transparency,’ for the police is in many ways already both.

    And so with all the structural problems in Thailand.

    I think a possible strategy is divide and conquer. Have an election, reinstate the 1997 Constitution, amend it as necessary, and then pay special attention to its provisions for decentralization… some detail is afforded here,Thailand: Decentralization, or What Next? (pdf).

    What other country has just a national police force, answerable to itself, essentially. No. Provincial, Amphoe and Tambon police each answerable to an elected civilian review board. And pay them. No more “self-financing”.

    Same with the courts and the military… with everything really. Decentralize, devolve power, divide, dismember, and conquer the colonial government in Bangkok.

    Quality comment or not? 12 1
    3 BKK lawyer // Jun 28, 2010 at 3:12 am

    The Bangkok Post of Sunday, 27 June, has a front-page article about two drug suspects shot dead by the police just this week, both while handcuffed in custody. The police claimed the suspects were shot while trying to grab a police officer’s gun.

    Quality comment or not? 8 0
    4 Samson Lim // Jun 28, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Hi John,

    Thanks for taking the time to read and post a comment! I do appreciate feedback. Just one point though, I don’t mean by any means that the police should act as judge, jury, and executioner. No one teaches that anywhere as far as I know. I do mean that there is some sentiment that the entire criminal justice system has become too cumbersome and that quick, sometimes harsh police action is warranted. The police’s heavy handed tactics in the war on drugs under Thaksin did find support in some circles after all.


    Quality comment or not? 7 1
    5 john francis lee // Jun 28, 2010 at 11:57 am

    I cannot really imagine that you are in favor of summary execution, Samson… although the government of the United States is and has been for nearly a decade as was made clear by Dennis Blair before the US Senate.

    It has since been revealed that Barack Obama has ordered the summary execution of a Muslim cleric, an American citizen, on “suspicion” of terrorism.

    So it is not just the Thai military and Royal Thai Police who are enthusiasts of summary executions. I am equally sure that many Americans are enthusiasts of summary execution as well.

    It may be argued that such the “justice system is too cumbersome” and that such sentiment is the result of citizen frustration.

    The cure is for the people, not the cops, to literally take the law into their own hands via decentralization and participatory democracy, not executions.

    Quality comment or not? 4 4
    6 Charles Frith // Jun 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Samson – Why would you endorse that public sentiment for harsh justice when the police are very well provided for, by the drug dealers they don’t shoot?

    Quality comment or not? 3 0
    7 StanG // Jun 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I don’t know what exactly needs to be reformed in the police force.

    Let’s be realistic – they will always control the vice trade, reform or no reform.

    Will they stop shooting suspects? Possibly, but you don’t need a reform for that, and, with wide public support for summary executions in some cases, it’s the society itself that needs a reform, not the police.

    I guess everyone wants them to solve more burglaries, return more stolen cars and catch more rapists but I don’t see how a reform would help that.

    Theoretically, if they didn’t spend so much time on covering for underground businesses they’d improve their overall performance, but, as I said, they are not going to give up that kind of income no matter what, and somebody would step in their shoes anyway, and the society needs its vice trade, too, no reforms would ever change that.

    Quality comment or not? 1 5
    8 Srithanonchai // Jun 28, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    For a dissertation on police reform, see

    Amorn Wanichwiwatana. 2005. “The 1998 Thai Police Reform: A Study of the Persistence of Institutional Corruption.” Thesis (D. Phil.), University of Oxford iv+270 pp.

    At present, old right-winger and anti-Thaksin activist Wasit has been tasked by Abhisit to head another “police reform” panel. Given the political preferences in wide circles of the police, this seems to be an odd choice.

    Quality comment or not? 5 1
    9 StanG // Jun 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    This afternoon saw the usual police money trap – catching people who don’t go straight from the left only lane. They always set this checkpoint only at the end of the month, everybody knows the deal.

    So one guy simply refused to stop when they tried to pull him over, he just drove around the waving policeman and that was the end of it.

    This little episode shows the essence of the relationship between the police force and the public – people expect the police to perform traffic service, they don’t mind getting caught for breaking a little rule, they don’t mind paying a hundred baht to policemen personally, knowing their meager salaries.

    However, if people don’t feel like paying they just ignore them and the police also know they can’t really enforce their half legal operation.

    They can’t enforce fully legal rules either, it all depends on public cooperation.

    Against this background I don’t really get the meaning of “police reform”. I’m not against it, per se, I just don’t see it has been thought through.

    Quality comment or not? 2 1
    10 John // Jun 29, 2010 at 8:45 am

    When a nation is conditioned to accepting corruption as a social norm wether political or within the security forces how will any reform change the habits of the entire nation.

    Quality comment or not? 0 0
    11 Samson Lim // Jun 29, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Hi Charles,

    Perhaps I didn’t make it quite clear in the text, for which I apologize, but I don’t endorse harsh police tactics. Rather, I wanted simply to point out that I think that such support does exist in Thailand (and many other places, including the city where I am from) and that this, among other things, makes change difficult. Its funny, in a lot of ways I agree with John’s comment about decentralization and democratization of policing, but this decentralized model of policing is in some ways what the police reforms of the late nineteenth century to the 1930s was targeted to eliminate.


    Quality comment or not? 0 0
    12 LesAbbey // Jun 29, 2010 at 11:34 am

    How to reform the Thai police? Well the obvious regarding decent pay and decentralization.

    Then something like an internal affairs division with real power to act on public complaints. Tell mid-range officers they have to serve in this division with distinction if they hope to land a senior position in the future. Encourage the public to use their camera phones to record shakedowns and send them in.

    Quality comment or not? 2 0
    13 Nobody // Jun 29, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Police reform. That is one hell of an issue but reform cant really even be approached without taking into account the position of the police in historical and current power politics. The rivalry with the army, the ding dong over the navy and more recently their sudden acquisition or should that be inheritance of a very large proportion of one of the countries most lucrative trades. Throw in human rights issues which are routinely dismissed by polticians and the powerful of absolutely every persuasion as nothing and of course fear.

    Police reform may be much talked about but hardly likley to be seen in the near future. The polity is too weak to challenge such powerful institutional players and the one time it may have been powerful enough the said institution was used in an attempt, ultimately unsuccesful, to counterbalance other institutions in what became a bit of a revisit of 60s history in institutional rivalry.

    Quality comment or not? 1 0
    14 StanG // Jun 29, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Les Abbey, I don’t believe there are shakedowns on any significant scale, not involving fully legitimate businesses.

    On the other hand, I know of some fully legit businesses that need a bit of a slack on law enforcement side here and there and they happily pay the police to look the other way.

    And then there’s vice trade that needs to pay up to stay open, can’t call it a shakedown.

    There’s a gap between the legality, how the society wants to present itself, and the reality, what the country really is, and those who can’t or don’t want to live to impossible expectations desperately need corrupt police force who are happy to help. That includes not only businesses but their patrons, too.

    It’s the symbiosis and so far the system of operates smoothly, and why fix what is not broken?

    What exactly do they hope to reform?

    Quality comment or not? 0 3
    15 Shan // Jun 30, 2010 at 6:34 am

    Police reform SOUNDS good. To begin with, policemen could be paid decent salaries. Given training in the law.

    Yet I am afraid it would still not make much of a difference if the goal is a police force that actually “serves and protects” the PUBLIC (and can possibly gain its respect in doing so).
    Because that’s not Thailand. The realities of a society stuck in a patronage (not to say “feudalistic”) system simply don’t permit it. Accountability applies to the individual environment and the patrons but – god forbid – not beyond.

    It requires a revolution on the big stage of politics to create a backdrop that allows a genuine reform of the police. Doesn’t look so good, does it?

    There’s also a non-political factor when it comes to “law and order”: As we know, you avoid conflicts in the “Land of Smiles”. People smile and ignore and smile and ignore. However, that doesn’t mean the conflict goes away. And when it gets too much, people explode. Thailand has the highest homicide rate in Asia (says Wikipedia).

    Quality comment or not? 0 0
    16 Jay Harriman // Jun 30, 2010 at 7:49 am


    I first read the article without looking at the title or author. Afterwards I curiously looked at the top to see who wrote it. You could believe my amazement when I saw your name! Drop me a quick line so I can fill you in on the last 8 years! Good to see what you are up to these days. As to the content, I think any reform solutions will require strong outside political leadership which the police higher-ups are willing to trust, respect, work with, and also fear; police higher-ups who want reform and have power to make changes; strong pressure from the citizenry and media; and culture change. And in all of this it doesn’t help that political factions try to “capture” police loyalty and use it as a political weapon/shield! Some investigation into other countries who have faced and overcome similar obstacles might be useful. Finally the cynic will always throw this bone: having a dysfunctional and corrupt police force uniquely benefits which groups in society?


    Jay Harriman



    Quality comment or not? 0 0
    17 Tarrin // Jun 30, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    It not point to reform the police now since there are so many figured and organization in Thailand that bar police from arresting them or doing their job.

    Quality comment or not? 0 0
    18 Ralph Kramden // Jun 30, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Let me get this right. According to StanG corruption in the police force is okay for it is a “system”. So what of the claims about rule of law that Abhisit has been making. Is rule of law only for some and not for others. Or am I misunderstanding?

    Watched the police shaking down innocent motorists on Sukhumvit yesterday. The police (and military) are making the most of their return to power since the coup.

    Quality comment or not? 0 0
    19 FredKorat // Jun 30, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    #18 Well Ralph. You are right about the police & military cashing in on the coup. But then one shouldn’t forget many (if not most) of them would also be more than happy to see Thaksin back here and in charge again. In such a Cash-22 situation, we would be fools to support either side in Thailand’s succession war. Certainly policemen should be much better paid. but then again, they have opportunities way beyond the expectations of ordinary farmers. And if they are so concerned about their own plight, then why don’t we see them making any honest efforts to reform this country. Policemen here obviously have no idea what they want. They talk about the evils of the sex industry, and say it must remain illegal, while still profiting from its illegality.

    I heard of one language school that opened up in a building that used to be some sort of massage parlor. Probably not the smartest move, but I suppose the proprietors thought the price was right. Day 1, the owner is summoned to the lobby to find a bunch of tourist policemen reclining in chairs with their boots up on the clean tables. They had come on the assumption that any new business at that location could only be something to which they were automatically entitled to receive some cash payments and other payments in kind. It took quite a long time for them to finally be convinced that the owner wasn’t just spinning them a line to avoid payment.

    Quality comment or not? 0 0
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