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Press, police ‘lose focus’ in karaoke case

KHON KAEN: Police and some media have come under heavy fire over their treatment of three female suspects in the murder and dismembering of 22-year-old karaoke bar worker Warisara Klinjui.

crime, death, murder, police, transport, violence,

Bangkok Post

Tuesday 6 June 2017, 08:45AM

Before yesterday’s re-enactment the three accused women were confronted by the aunt of the murder victim, 22-year-old karaoke bar worker Warisara Klinjui. Photo: Jakkrapan Nathanri
Before yesterday’s re-enactment the three accused women were confronted by the aunt of the murder victim, 22-year-old karaoke bar worker Warisara Klinjui. Photo: Jakkrapan Nathanri

A backlash has emerged on social media in response to the release of photos of the women appearing relaxed and convivial, wearing make-up and posing casually with officers as they are held in immigration police custody. People have criticised the police for appearing to give them preferential treatment.

There are also reports that police at Khao Suan Kwang Police Station cleaned up the premises ahead of receiving the suspects.

Some media has been criticised for treating them like celebrities and almost “idolising” them, particularly the “good-looking” Preeyanuch “Preaw” Nonwangchai, who allegedly confessed to strangling Ms Warisara and dismembering her body. The other two suspects are Kawinta “Earn” Ratchada, and Apiwan “Jae” Satayabundit.

Several media personalities have been lambasted for seemingly showing compassion for the three suspects. Some of them have been the target of verbal attacks after calling the suspects by the affectionate term nong (sister) in their reporting.

The criticism has prompted the Royal Thai Police to set up a committee to look into the controversial images and to issue an order instructing police officers not to take photos or clips with suspects or share media files involving the suspects.

Deputy national police chief Dejnarong Sutthicharnbancha said the Immigration Bureau is investigating the origins of the photos, apparently taken when the suspects were in the custody of immigration authorities.

However, he said it was possible that the suspects were encouraged to “relax” as part of a trick used by authorities to get them to reveal more information. He noted that the suspects gave information about a male suspect allegedly involved in the murder.

Gen Dejnarong stressed that no suspects received preferential treatment from police.

Amid the outrage and condemnation, social media outlets have also seen posts discussing the suspects sympathetically.

The issue was raised by the National Steering Reform Assembly (NRSA) yesterday (June 5) with some members voicing concerns about the affectionate portrayal of the women.

NRSA member Chalermchai Krea-ngam said the suspects have been portrayed by some media outlets as being family-orientated.

The suspects have even become akin to style icons, with people going out to buy the multicoloured bags seen carried by the suspects in photos.

“It is a social illness. I am asking the media reform committee to address this issue,” he said.

However, the three suspects were handcuffed yesterday as they were led by police through a re-enactment of the murder and disposal of the body of Ms Warisara.

Before yesterday’s re-enactment the three accused women were confronted by the aunt of the murder victim, 22-year-old karaoke bar worker Warisara Klinjui. They were taken to eight spots linked to the grisly murder on May 23.

These included the store where they bought a saw, a resort where Ms Warisara was cut up and bagged, and the field where her dismembered body was then buried.

Two companies of police also escorted the trio to an intersection on Nadi Rd where they picked up Ms Warisara in a car and later drove her to the resort.

The murder occurred in the car, where Preeyanuch allegedly strangled Ms Warisara to death, said Provincial Police Region 4 deputy chief Chaoroenwit Siwanit.

“When the suspects realised the victim was dead, they bought the equipment [to dispose of the body] and drove to the resort,” he said.

However, police have yet to recover the saw, said Maj Gen Thanasak Ritthidetpaiboon, deputy chief of the Provincial Police Region 4. But he insisted the missing evidence would not affect the case.

Five people were implicated and arrested in connection with the murder. The other two were identified as Wasin Namprom, 25, and Jidarat Promkhun, 21.

Wasin and Preeyanuch gave conflicting accounts about the location where they purchased the tool from, but it is unlikely to affect the investigation because they got out of the car to buy it together, said Maj Gen Thanasak.

Ms Warisara’s dismembered body, stuffed in plastic bags in two plastic containers, was dug up from a shallow grave on land owned by Preeyanuch in Khon Kaen’s Khao Suan Kwang district on May 25.

Preeyanuch and her two companions crossed the border to the Myanmar town of Tachilek, opposite Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district, the same day.

The suspects apologised yesterday to the victim’s family who witnessed the re-enactment at the grave site, the last location of the crime re-enactment. A wall of police kept hundreds of angry villagers at bay.

Preeyanuch was heard saying to the victim’s family that she regretted her actions.

One woman said she just wanted to see with her own eyes the “beautiful face, but cruel mind”.

Sakuntra Pleakaen, the victim’s aunt, said the family forgave the suspects because they could not bring back Ms Warisara. “But give justice to our family and Warisara,” she said.

Relatives of Preeyanuch asked that she not be sentenced to death, but be allowed to live.

Ms Warisara’s grieving grandmother Thonglom Klinjui who lives in Chai Nai posed them a question in return. They had asked for life, she said. “So I’d like to ask them back, how can I ask for the life of Nong Aem?” she said, using the victim’s nickname.

The Khon Kaen Provincial Court approved a police request to detain the trio for 12 days and refused them bail.

Read original story here.



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