(19 December) The Royal Thai Police have instructed local police stations across the country to abolish the mandatory 24 hour period distraught parents must wait before notifying the police of their missing children.
The change was implemented in the wake of the abduction case of a 6 year old girl which has shocked the Thai public in recent days. The girl, nicknamed nong Cartoon, was reportedly lured away by a homeless man from the parking lot of a country music concert in Bangkok.
The search effort for Cartoon was delayed by the regulation which allows the police to accept a missing child case only when the said child had gone missing for 24 hours.
However, the man accused of kidnapping nong Cartoon was later arrested and confessed to police that he had raped and murdered her in a secluded spot nearby shortly after he lured her away from the parking lot.
The police also urged the public to notify them of any trace of missing children via the hotline 1599.
Meanwhile, the police said they have not yet determined whether the human remains found in the crime scene belonged to Cartoon, but added that her parents confirmed that the clothes and other artifacts found nearby did indeed belong to the girl.
The police are also investigating the claims of the suspect, a man known simply as Mr. Nui, that he had also raped a total of 8 children in the past, 4 of which he had murdered.
Mr. Nui has previously served jail sentence for child abuse charges, police records show.
Police in Loey province yesterday investigated the spot where Mr. Nui claimed he had murdered another victim and uncovered a number of human remains in the vicinity. The police believe they might be the remains of a 4 year old girl called nong Ying who had been reportedly missing during a Red Cross Fair.
The police also found a pair of pink shoes nearby; parents of nong Ying said it is the same pair of shoes they had bought for the girl before she disappeared. Nevertheless, the forensic department is working to determine whether the DNA found on the human remains matched with Ying′s parents.
Over 70 police officers also combed an area in Prachinburi province to verify Mr. Nui′s claim that he had raped and murdered yet another victim there. No human remains were found, but a set of woman clothes and lingerie was found in the area.
Pol.Lt.Gen. Thitiraj Nongharnpitak, deputy commander of the Bangkok Metropolitan Police, told our correspondent that some of the victims allegedly raped or murdered by Mr. Nui might be illegal aliens, which deter the parents from filing complaints to the police.
He also suggested that some local police stations might have been informed about the crimes committed by Mr. Nui, but the officers in charge might not take up the case as serious as they were supposed to.
"[The officers] probably saw them as normal cases, but apparently they are not," said Pol.Lt.Gen. Thitiraj, "The officers should be more attentive."
Pol.Lt.Gen. Kamronvit Thoopkrachang, commander of the Bangkok Metropolitan Police, said yesterday that the police would transfer the cases to Crime Suppression Division′s jurisdiction for a centralised effort in the investigation, since the crimes are alleged to take place in many locations.
He also handed an undisclosed amount of money to Mr. Jessadapong Kongkrumkorng, the organiser of a traveling country music concert, as a reward for recognising Mr. Nui, who was working with the band, and alerting the police afterwards.
Bang Na Police in Bangkok are said to be in contact with a former wife of Mr. Nui. According to the sources, Mr. Nui′s ex wife would be interviewed by the police at an undisclosed location about the suspect′s background and personality, in hope that the officers would understand the motives behind his alleged crimes.
Additionally, Mr. Sorasith Chongcharoen, the commander of Bangkok Special Prison, told our correspondent that Mr. Nui is currently detained with other prisoners in a shared cell, but the prison wards are keeping close watch over the suspect to make certain that he would not commit suicide or end up being mobbed by fellow prisoners.
He said Mr. Nui has not shown any sign of distress since he arrived at the prison, however.
The Mirror Foundation, the charity group which focuses on missing children, also urged the government and the police to set up special departments designed to solve the cases of abducted children.
In a statement released to the press, the foundation suggested that the government should allow notices of missing children to be published in state media to gain more attention from the public.