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Tangmo: Police conclude Thai actress died of ‘recklessness’, 6 suspects charged

Jay Shine

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A portrait of deceased Thai actress Nida "Tangmo" Patcharaveerapong. Credit: melonp.official | Instagram

Following a monthslong investigation into the death of Thai actress Nida “Tangmo” Patcharaveerapong, police have finally charged all 5 of her boating buddies, plus a man who allegedly coached them, with various offences, including recklessness leading to death, lying to police and concealing evidence.

At a press conference today at the headquarters of Provincial Police Region 1 in Bangkok, police announced charges against 6 suspects and presented a summary of their investigation, bringing it to a close.

Police chief Lt. Gen. Jiraphat Phumphichit announced that police had ruled out murder. Instead, they ambiguously concluded that the actress’ death was caused by the “recklessness” of someone on the boat, but did not identify which suspect was to blame. In other words, it was an accident.

“Tangmo didn’t fall into the river by her own recklessness, but there was someone whose recklessness led to her death.”

On the night of February 24, Tangmo reportedly fell from a speedboat and drowned in the Chao Phraya River near Nonthaburi province north of Bangkok. There were 5 other people on the boat with her at the time.

Police determined Tangmo fell from the stern on the boat at 10:34pm that night and was subsequently cut up by the propeller on the outboard engine, causing her to drown.

Notably, police said only the suspect known as “Sand” had claimed that Tangmo had gone to the back of the boat to pee; the other suspects had not mentioned it in their testimonies. But police did not say whether Sand’s claim was true or false, nor did they charge her with giving false statements.

Police also confirmed that the time indicated on the photo showing Tangmo and her manager “Gatick” posing on the boat in front of Rama VII Bridge that fateful night is indeed the correct time; it had not been changed, contrary to popular speculation.

During their hourlong presentation, police presented a 30 minute video, which included 3 parts: a summary of the investigation from the beginning until now and a review of the evidence from forensics examinations; a report on the investigation of the suspects, including their testimonies; an address of the grievances from Thai media and social media, with explanations for various questions.

Police presented a detailed timeline of events, including an analysis of the boat’s route according to GPS, as well as various images taken from the actress’ phone and CCTV footage. They ended their presentation with a Q&A session with Thai media.

Notably, police concluded that Tangmo fell from the stern of the boat and hit the propeller, causing the large gash on her thigh – a theory widely criticised by experts throughout the investigation as inconsistent with the shape of the wound. In the end, it appears police where unable to find a better explanation.

During the press conference, Jiraphat confirmed that the case is complete and there is no point in making further examinations. Therefore, police submitted their collected evidence and reports to prosecutors today for consideration, as the investigation draws to a close and the case enters the next phase in court.

But Jiraphat emphasised that this is not the conclusion of the Tangmo case, as many media outlets have reported. Rather, it’s the next step in the judicial process, in which police must submit their reports and evidence for the public prosecutor to form an opinion.

Police submitted their collected evidence to public prosecutors in the form of eight large files containing 335 pieces of “evidence” — including 47 documents from the two autopsy reports, 88 pieces of physical evidence, 200 videos, including footage from 70 CCTV cameras, and 2,000 documents with a total of nearly 2,250 pages.

During the lengthy investigation, Nonthaburi Provincial Police, together with officers from Provincial Police Region 1, questioned six suspects (the five people on the boat, plus their alleged adviser) and 124 other people, including 26 people who were in contact with the suspects, 62 witnesses, 16 specialists and 20 “officers”.

After hearing police press charges against them, the 6 suspects went to the Nonthaburi Provincial Prosecutor’s office this afternoon, where they acknowledged an appointment to hear the case on May 27. Police temporarily released all 6 suspects on bail until the case is heard in court.

After leaving the prosecutor’s office, the suspect Sand responded to questions from reporters, saying…

“I’m comfortable. I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Here is a summary of the charges being pressed against all 5 boating buddies, plus the man whom they allegedly consulted regarding how to lie to police about what happened on the boat that night.

Tanuphat “Por” Lertthaweewit (boat owner)
• Reckless driving leading to death. (10 years jail time + fine up to 200,000)
• Driving a boat without a license
• Tossing trash or garbage into the river
• Failure to display the name of the boat
• Driving a boat with an expired boat registration license
• Giving flase statements to police

Paiboon “Robert” Treekanchananan (boat skipper)
• Reckless driving leading to death (10 years jail time + fine up to 200,000 baht)
• Driving a boat without a license
• Tossing trash or garbage into the river
• Driving a boat with an expired boat registration license

Wisapat “Sand” Manomairat (transgender woman and second manager)
• Reckless driving leading to death (10 years jail time + fine up to 200,000 baht)

Nitat “Job” Kiratisut Sathorn (mutual friend)
• Helping others evade criminal penalties or destroying evidence
• Tossing trash or garbage into the river

Itsarin “Gatick” Jutha Suksawat (longtime manager)
• Helping others evade criminal penalties or destroying evidence (deletion of photos)
• Giving false statements to police

Phim “M” Thamtheerasri (“lawyer” who coached the 5 suspects how to present their stories to police)
• Helping others evade criminal penalties or destroy evidence
• Giving false statements to police

Tangmo: Police conclude Thai actress died of 'recklessness', 6 suspects charged | News by Thaiger

Photo: Police presented a summary of their investigation at a press conference today at the office of Provincial Police Region 1 in Bangkok. Credit: Provincial Police Region 1 | Facebook

SOURCES: Provincial Police Region 1 | Thai media

 

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    A longtime expat in Asia with a degree in journalism and creative writing. Highlights include writing for Condé Nast Traveller and Apple Music. In his spare time, Jay enjoys writing poetry, brewing traditional Chinese tea and lounging with his calico soi cat, Almond.

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