The suspects are Surikfat Bannopwongsakul, Khomsan Wiangnon, Abdullo Dolo, Arun Thongkham, Prachak Bunthoi, Thanachai Chamnong, Thawatchai Bunkhong and Chalita Sangkhachot.
They were charged with conspiring to murder others, attempting to murder others, forcing others to sign documents regarding their title deeds, illegally possessing the firearms of others, illegally carrying firearms, illegally dressing in military-style uniforms, falsely identifying themselves as military officers, and operating a criminal network.
Surikfat and Khomsan in particular face additional charges for colluding to commit premeditated murder and attempting to commit premeditated murder because they were the duo suspected to have shot dead the eight victims and injured three others.
The court also approved a related arrest warrant for Surikfat and some other suspects in a previous case in which they had attempted unsuccessfully to abduct Worayut Sanglang, the head of the murdered family who was also killed on July 10.
Following the issuance of the warrants, the eight suspects were expected to be transferred from the 15th Infantry Battalion in Klong Thom district where they have been detained since their arrest to Krabi Provincial Prison.
Somsak Tiangtrakulthong, director of the prison, said the suspects will be detained in separate cells that can accommodate two to three each to prevent possible attacks from other angry inmates who have heard about the massacre.
Prison officers would be assigned to keep a close watch on all the eight suspects for fear that they may attempt to commit suicide, said Mr Somsak.
He added that the prison would boost security because the suspects are involved in a high-profile case.
Maj Gen Itthiphon Atchariyapradit, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau’s investigation division who serves as one of the investigators handling the Ao Luek massacre case, said four more people have been called in for questioning as they are suspected to have been involved.
He declined to go into detail as to who these people are and what their roles in the murder case could be, saying only that investigators are still probing their alleged links to the massacre.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who oversees government legal affairs, said yesterday that some legal loopholes in the law on land consignment sales are to blame for several problems, including the Ao Luek murder case.
Police said Surikfat is believed to have duped Mr Worayut’s father-in-law into signing land sale documents without his being fully aware of what he was doing.
When Mr Worayut found out what was happening, he planned to bring a lawsuit against Surikfat.
The dispute including the legal action is believed to have triggered the massacre, according to police.
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