BANGKOK — A senior police officer was removed from active duty Friday and two others placed under investigation after they posed for photos with a celebrity rocker in their custody on firearm charges.
The order to transfer Col. Singh Singhdech, chief of Kannayao Police Station, to an inactive post was about to be signed by his supervisor as of late morning, according to Bangkok police commander Chanthep Sesawech. As for the cause, Chanthep cited a photograph showing Singh giving a thumbs-up with rockstar Sek Loso while he was under arrest Sunday night.
“We are waiting for the formal order now,” Lt. Gen. Chanthep said. “It’s because of the photograph.”
Chanthep said the photo could be problematic because police regulations forbid actions that could be construed as showing favoritism. Two police officers in the southern province where Sek was wanted on weapons charges are also being investigated for behaving too chummy with the former Loso frontman who built his career on a delinquent image and behavior.
Sek Loso, whose real name is Seksan Sukpimai, was taken into custody Sunday after a standoff with police on charges he had fired a pistol into the sky several days earlier. He was held at Kannayao Police Station overnight before being released on bail a day later.
The 43-year-old rocker later posted a photo to Instagram showing himself sitting with Col. Singh at the police station on the night of his arrest. The picture raised criticism that Sek was being afforded privileges due to his fame.
In a video posted to Kannayao station’s Facebook page Thursday evening, Singh says the photo was taken while Sek was receiving visitors. The colonel also said he was asked by Sek to give the thumbs-up to show he accepted the rocker’s pledge to become a better man.
In a Friday interview, Singh said the photo would not interfere with the investigation.
“We have scientific evidence against him in our case,” Singh said. “It certainly will not affect our work.”
Police said Sek tested positive for drug use on Sunday night. The musician maintained it was because he took medication just prior to his arrest.
Two police officers in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, home to the temple where Sek fired the shots that led to Sunday’s arrest, are being investigated after they were seen at a party hosted by Sek after he got out of jail.
Nakhon Si Thammarat city police station chief Rangsan Sukkua and inspector Teerapol Phumchai were seen enjoying themselves at the party in another photo also posted by the rocker to Instagram.
In response to criticism over police favoritism, Sek posted two pictures of himself behind bars at Kannayao Police Station and wrote that he did not receive any special treatment.
“JAILHOUSE ROCK!! If you think I had more privilege than ordinary people, please look at these two photos,” Sek wrote. “Police did their best. Please stop criticizing any side.”