Mistaken identity?

Boonkerd Ounwong, left, takes her son Anek, right, to Pratunam Chulalongkorn police station in Pathum Thani to face assault charges. Mr Anek claimed that his twin brother, Anont, was mistakenly found guilty and sent to jail for a crime he committed. PONGPAT WONGYALA

By Terry Fredrickson

Is one identical twin in jail for a crime committed by the other? That’s what the twins and their mother are saying, but the police say no.

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Mistaken identity?

An unusual crime story is getting a lot of attention in the Thai-language media.

Back in 2010 an assault was committed. Police from Pratunam Chulalongkorn station in Pathum Thani arrested and charged Anont Ounwong. He fit the description of the assailant and a court later sentenced him to four years in jail.

Police were apparently unaware that Anont had an identical twin brother Anek who disappeared immediately after the crime.

When informed by the twins' mother, Boonkerd Ounwong, that Anek was responsible for the crime, they refused to act, saying  police charges against Anont were based on sound evidence.

Last week, Anek finally returned home to find out his brother had spent 14 months in jail for a crime he now says he committed.

On Tuesday, Anek went to Pratunam Chulalongkorn station and told police his twin brother Anont had been mistakenly arrested.

However, the police are still refusing to admit that they arrested the wrong man.

Moreover, Pol Maj Gen Kamronwit Thoopkrachang, acting chief of Provincial Police Region 1, yesterday told Pratunam Chulalongkorn station to sue Ms Boonkerd for defaming the officers  by claiming they had demanded 500,000 baht in "legal fees" from her.

Mr Anek and Ms Boonkerd yesterday petitioned the ombudsman Sriracha Charoenpanich to review the case, which he described as "out of the ordinary".

His staff will now contact prosecutors responsible for the case and the police. Mr Sriracha warned Mr Anek and Ms Boonkerd to exercise caution and not to leave their house alone.

Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post.

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    assault – attacking someone violently  การทำร้ายร่างกาย
    charge – an official statement accusing someone of committing a crime ข้อหา
    claim – saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
    twins – two children born at the same time to the same mother แฝด,  ฝาแฝด
    identical twins – twins who look exactly like each other แฝดร่วมไข่, แฝดเหมือน
    found guilty – convicted; having been proven to have committed a crime by a court of law ได้รับการพิสูจน์ว่ามีความผิดจริง
    commit – to do something wrong or illegal ทำความผิด
    identity – who or what somebody/something is  ชื่อ เอกลักษณ์
    media – newspapers, television, radio, etc. สื่อ
    arrested – (of the police) to take someone to a police station because they are believed to have committed a crime จับกุม
    fit – to be the right size; to agree with, match or be suitable for something พอดี (ขนาด), พอเหมาะ
    assailant – someone who violently attacks another person  ผู้ทำร้าย
    sentence – (of a court of law) to give a punishment ลงโทษ
    apparently – based only on what you have heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly ตามที่ได้รู้มา
    unaware – not knowing or realising something ซึ่งไม่รู้ตัวมาก่อน
    disappear – to move someone somewhere where they can no longer be seen หายไป
    immediately – happening right after something else with no delay; right away ทันที
    responsible for – deserving to be blamed for something that has happened มีความรับผิดชอบ
    refuse – to say you will not do something that someone has asked you to do ปฏิเสธ
    act – to take action; to do something for a particular purpose or in order to deal with a situation  จัดการ, ดำเนินการ, ปฏิบัติ
    sound – that you can rely on ไม่มีข้อบกพร่อง
    evidence – information that is used in court to try to prove something หลักฐานประกอบการไต่สวนคดี หรือพิจารณาคดี
    admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it  ยอมรับ
    moreover – used to introduce some new information that adds to or supports what you have said previously ยิ่งกว่านั้น, จากนั้น
    sue – to take legal action against a person or organisation, especially by making a legal claim for money because of some harm that they have caused you ฟ้องร้อง
    defame – to say or write something bad about someone that is not true and makes other people have a bad opinion of them ทำลายชื่อเสียง
    legal – relating to the law or lawyers เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
    fee – an amount of money that you pay ค่าธรรมเนียม
    petition – to ask someone in authority to do something ยื่นคำร้อง
    ombudsman – an official whose job is to examine and report on complaints made by ordinary people about companies, the government or public authorities ผู้ตรวจการของรัฐสภา
    out of the ordinary – unusual; not typical ผิดปกติ
    prosecutor – a lawyer whose job is to prove in court that someone accused of a crime is guilty อัยการ
    exercise – to use ใช้
    caution – careful thought and lack of hurry in order to try to avoid risks or danger ความระมัดระวัง