Official faces action over airport assault

THE NATION January 12, 2012 1:00 am
Official faces action over airport assault

Contraband-unit employee captured on video attacking security personnel

Police yesterday issued a summons for a C7 customs official after video clip showing him assaulting an airport security officer and refusing to be patted down started doing the rounds in cyber space.

Suvarnabhumi Airport superintendent Colonel Nattanan Nanasombat said Sombat Chatchaiwaiyawit, 55, had seven days to respond to the summons.
“If he does not report to police, we will issue an arrest warrant for him,” Nattanan said.

Meanwhile, after viewing the clip, Customs Department’s director-general Somchai Poonsawat has ordered that Sombat be transferred out of Suvarnabhumi Airport. Sombat led a customs unit responsible for crackdowns on contraband and narcotics.
Somchai also ordered an investigation into the incident and expects results in 30 days.
“If found guilty, he will face action in line with the Office of Civil Service Commission’s rules,” he said.
The clip showed Sombat walking through a security checkpoint on January 8, but refusing to be patted down after a security alarm beeped. Sombat was then seen whacking security officer Sirichai Maichum, 33, in the ear with both his hands. The senior official then pointed to his badge and the junior officer was seen bowing apologetically.

The video was posted on YouTube on Monday and by Tuesday it had attracted thousands of angry comments.
“His action has caused serious damage to the reputation of the Customs Department,” Somchai said yesterday.
Meanwhile, Sirichai went to see a doctor after the assault and found that his eardrum was injured. He then lodged a police complaint against Sombat.

Sirichai works for Asia Security Management, which provides security services at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
“He [Sirichai] has always carried out his duties well and from the clip we have seen that he did nothing wrong,” the security firm’s human-resources manager Passakorn Aksornsuwan. He added that the company had covered Sirichai’s medical expenses and given him days off until he recovers.
“He will be assigned the same job once he recovers fully,” Passakorn said.

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