Soonthorn Khanhin, accompanied by his lawyer, met on Saturday (July 23) with Crime Suppression Division (CSD) and Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division officers and declared his innocence in connection with all charges levelled against Monta, better known as “Ying Kai”.
It was Mr Soonthorn’s second encounter with police investigating the increasingly bizarre case of the woman accused of human trafficking, lese majeste and lodging false theft charges against former employees.
He had made a similar declaration of innocence to officers from the Metropoitan Police Bureau earlier this month.
Emerging from a three-hour interrogation at the CSD, the driver told reporters that he was not aware of all of the complaints filed by his former employer against her maids, except for one case involving Chanthana Kotchkongthai of Mae Hong Son.
Mr Soonthorn refused to give more details on the Chanthana case and added that his driving duties left him no time to chat with Monta’s employees inside the house.
Mr Soonthorn drove for “Ying Kai” from 2009-10. He said the work was exhausting because he also had to drive his boss on frequent trips outside Bangkok. He finally quit and went to stay at Wat Nangkhal Chantree in Lam Luk Ka district of Pathum Thani.
He said he had never been threatened when he worked for Monta.
The saga of “Ying Kai” has riveted the public for the past month as one former maid after another has come forward to give evidence to investigators against her. Even Mr Soonthorn, worried about his elder brother after losing contact with him, suddenly appeared to tell his story to the Metropolitan Police Bureau on July 14 and again on Saturday.
He said he left the temple after seeing reports about the arrest of his former employer.
Chusak Apaipakdi, the deputy commissioner of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division, said the driver had given officers useful information about places “Ying Kai” had visited and people she had met, but there had not been much progress on follow-ups yet.
The officer said he believed in the man’s innocence and indicated more talks could be held with Mr Soonthorn if necessary.
Ms Chanthana told the CSD on July 1 that she was accused of stealing diamonds from “Ying Kai” when she worked for her between 2008 and 2010. She spent 18 months in jail after confessing to the crime, saying Monta had threatened to go after her parents if she did not confess.
Like other former maids, Ms Chanthana was hit with a theft charge after she refused to go to Hong Kong. Monta reportedly offered the young women unspecified “work” there which would pay millions of baht.
Monta is currently being held at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution facing several charges of laying false complaints of theft against maids, human trafficking, and lese majeste.
Police formally informed her about the human trafficking charge on Thursday (July 21) after the Criminal Court approved an arrest warrant. Before that she had been accused only of attempted human trafficking, which carries a lesser punishment if found guilty.
CSD officers plan to visit her again next week to inform her about the lese majeste charge after the military court approved an arrest warrant on the charge, also on Thursday.
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