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Ex-park chief wanted for Billy murder

Ex-park chief wanted for Billy murder

BANGKOK: A court has approved warrants for the arrests of a former chief of the Kaeng Krachan National Park and three other officials in connection with the murder of Karen activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen.

murderdeathhomicidecorruptionnatural-resources
By Bangkok Post

Monday 11 November 2019, 05:11PM


Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, former chief the Kaeng Krachan National Park, arrives at the Central Administratve Court in Bangkok in June last year to hear the ruling in a case in which karen people accused park officials of destroyng their assets. Photo: Bangkok Post / file

Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, former chief the Kaeng Krachan National Park, arrives at the Central Administratve Court in Bangkok in June last year to hear the ruling in a case in which karen people accused park officials of destroyng their assets. Photo: Bangkok Post / file

Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang, Director-General of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), said today (Nov 11) that the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases had approved the arrest warrants for Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn and three other park officials this afternoon.

They faced many charges including murder, robbery and detention. The DSI would prepare for their arrests but would welcome their surrender, Col Paisit said.

Before the court approved his arrest, Mr Chaiwat said he was not worried and would not escape. He also pledged to cooperate fully with authorities, convinced the evidence he had would absolve him.

Porlajee was last seen on April 17, 2014 in the custody of officials in Phetchaburi province. At the time of his arrest, he was helping his relatives, a group of ethnic Karen, to sue Mr Chaiwat for setting fire to their bamboo huts and rice barns during a series of forest evictions in the national park.

Mr Chaiwat later claimed Porlajee had been arrested for collecting wild honey but was released after being given a warning.

Mr Chaiwat and his team earlier faced a murder charge related to Porlajee’s disappearance but were eventually acquitted due to a lack of evidence.

Searches conducted from April to August this year discovered a barrel containing charred human bone fragments in the Kaeng Krachan Dam reservoir. DNA tests of the fragments matched those conducted on Porlajee's mother, leading the DSI to conclude that the bones were Porlajee’s and that he had been murdered.

Porjalee’s wife Pinnapa Prueksapan was at the Justice Ministry on Monday to ask Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin to allow Pol Lt Col Korrawat Panprapakorn, outgoing DSI deputy chief who leads the investigation, to continue handling the case.

In mid-October, the Cabinet approved the transfer of Pol Lt Col Korrawat to be an inspector-general of the Justice Ministry, prompting the concern about the continuity of the case.

Mr Somsak said the DSI’s case on Billy was 99% complete and Pol Lt Col Korrawat was likely to finish it by the Dec 2 designated deadline.

Pol Lt Col Korrawat would be supervising the case until there is a royal command for his promotion, Mr Somsak said.

The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases was formed three years ago to handle cases involving malfeasance, abuse of power, corruption or bribery involving state officials, as well as cases related to asset declarations.

 

Read original story here.

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