DSI director-general Paisit Wongmuang said today (Aug 30) that Thawatchai Anukul, 66, a land official who retired whilst in office in Phang Nga, committed suicide in his cell on the sixth floor of the DSI head office at the government complex in Chaeng Wattana.
It was reported he used his socks to hang himself from a cell door hinge. He was found about 2am today and taken to Mongkutwattana Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:45am. Thawatchai had been arrested on a warrant in Bang Yai district of Nonthaburi province yesterday and would have been taken to court this morning, when the DSI would have requested he be remanded in custody for a further 12 days.
“Apart from being wanted on the DSI arrest warrant, he also faced arrest warrants issued by courts in other cases,” Col Paisit said. “The Anti-Money Laundering Office is checking his assets and the National Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating him.”
His death ended all criminal action against the former land official, but legal action relating to his alleged money-laundering would continue, Col Paisit said.
Thawatchai was a native of Thalang district. He was arrested in front of a barber shop in tambon Sao Thong Hin of Bang Yai district, Nonthaburi.
He was accused of having illegally issued land rights documents for more than 1,000 blocks of land in Phang Nga, Phuket and Surat Thani provinces, the DSI chief said.
They included a document for 500 rai overlapping the Khao Lampi-Hat Thai Mueang National Park in Phang Nga. The price of the land was officially estimated at B10.5 billion, and it belonged to a rich person well-known in Phang Nga and Phuket, Col Paisit said.
Thawatchai had also allegedly issued a rights document to a private company for 362 rai of land in Rassada.
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