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Tuesday, 11 July, 2000, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Thai jail swap investigated
Thai police have launched an investigation into the case of a convicted drugs trafficker who sent her adopted daughter to jail to serve her sentence.

The bizarre switch was uncovered last week after police arrested 40-year-old Tim Nakponkham for allegedly possessing 840 amphetamine pills, the Bangkok Post said.

They were amazed to find that she should have been doing time in a Bangkok prison since 1998 for another drugs offence.

In jail instead, police discovered her adopted daughter, 28-year-old Vasana Nakponkham.

Lawyer

Tim reportedly told police she paid her lawyer 200,000 baht ($5,200) to arrange for her freedom so she could continue taking care of her children and grandchildren.

She had been granted bail after being arrested by Bangkok police three years ago for carrying illegal drugs.

But when the case came to court it was Vasana who presented herself as the defendent.

Tim's lawyer and a number of police and prison officers are now being investigated, the report said.

Jail staff are under suspicion because Tim made several visits to her daughter in prison without the ruse being reported.

Extra time

The Bangkok Post said Vasana had volunteered to serve the sentence "to show her gratitude" to her adoptive mother.

But a judge hearing the case warned she could now be jailed for another five years for helping her mother avoid punishment.

Tim will have to serve the original term of three years and nine months, plus another three years for avoiding imprisonment.

And both mother and daughter could face an extra six months for contempt of court.

The judge said there had been a number of similar incidents in Thailand recently, particularly involving gambling and prostitution convictions.

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