Stricter rules for police in charter

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 October, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 October, 1997, 12:00am

Once famed as the best police 'money could buy', Thailand's force faces stiff new operating procedures under the country's sweeping new constitution.

Political commentators said human rights provisions in the charter had received far less attention than those to beat political corruption but would soon show themselves as a key early test of its strength.

The charter - recently given the royal seal of approval - enshrines the right to a fair and lawful trial.

It means the police will have to drop two favoured tactics: interrogating a suspect without a lawyer and parading a suspect before the press.

It also, in theory, provides for the swift dismissal of corrupt police and for a string of new judicial institutions, although commentators said they found it hard to believe the police could easily change entrenched practices.

A key role in applying the day-to-day provisions of the charter could fall to the Interior Minister, Sanoh Thienthong.

Mr Sanoh just two months ago warned that a communist plot lay behind the constitution and is seen as a one of the older generation of powerful rural politicians with most to lose by its swift implementation.