Prayut Phetkhun, deputy spokesman of the Office of the Attorney-General, said Lt Col (retired) Banyin was charged with colluding in premeditated murder and colluding in murder for personal gain or to avoid criminal punishment for another wrongdoing. Such offences carry a maximum penalty of death.
Public prosecutors also proposed that any punishment handed down in the case be cumulative on punishment from another case involving document forgery for the theft of shares.
The Phra Khanong court accepted the case for trial and set the first hearing for July 9. The court released Banyin on him on bail of B2mn on condition he not leave the country without prior permission.
Mr Chuwong, 50, was found dead in the front passenger seat of Banyin’s Lexus SUV after it crashed into a roadside tree in Prawet district, Bangkok, on June 26, 2015.
Banyin survived the incident unscathed. The vehicle suffered minor damage.
Police at Udomsuk station initially attributed Mr Chuwong’s death to the crash. The Crime Suppression Division (CSD) took over the investigation and suspected Banyin of colluding in murder and that the accident was a set up to cover the murder.
The CSD concluded that Mr Chuwong was clubbed to death before the accident. Banyin had invited Mr Chuwong to a round of golf that night.
The murder motive was the fraudulent ownership of a portfolio of shares.
The case involves Banyin, who had known Chuwong since they met during a course at the National Defence College a few years before his death, and three women. One of the women was the broker handling Mr Chuwong’s stocks account and suspected of being Banyin’s mistress. They are all suspected of stealing B300mn worth of Mr Chuwong’s shares using forged documents.
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