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Supat transferred to Office of the Permanent Secretary over alleged theft at Kyoto hotel

The Minister of Commerce has ordered the transfer of the deputy director-general of the Intellectual Property Department to the Office of the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Commerce.

Commerce Minister Mrs Apiradee Tantraporn said today the transfer was not to defend the deputy director-general Supat Sa-nguanpakdeekul but to remove him from the position as the fact-finding committee could start investigating the incident.

The committee is expected to finish the fact-funding investigation within a few days, she said.

She said although Mr Supat was not prosecuted by the Japanese prosecutor, the ministry would have to pursue disciplinary action on the senior official.

Afterwards another committee to be joined by representatives from the Office of the Civil Service Commission, the Justice Ministry and the PM's Office will be appointed to look into what disciplinary actions could be taken on him, she said.

She assured that the deputy director general would be given justice in the probe.

Mr Supat Sa-nguanpakdeekul was freed from police custody after the hotel in Kyoto had agreed to withdraw theft charge against him.

Earlier last Friday, the Thai consul-general in Osaka paid a visit to Mr Supat at the Nagakeo police station in Kyoto and the DIP deputy chief admitted his wrongdoing and offered an apology for the incident.

Mr Supat arbitrarily took three paintings worth about 15,000 yen from the hotel where he stayed and the paintings were found in his luggage when he checked out of the hotel.

The consul-general later negotiated with the hotel management, telling them that Mr Supat felt guilty and agreed to pay compensation to the hotel.

The hotel management later withdrew the charge against the DIP deputy director-general and the police as well as the public prosecutor were later informed of the hotel's decision.

The prosecutor eventually ordered the immediate release of Mr Supat from police custody because the case is not a serious one and the paintings theft was not plotted in advance, said Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Mr Sek Wannamethee

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

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