Ex-official Kamnan Nok accused of orchestrating police chief’s assassination at dinner party

Praween Chankhlai, aka Kamnan Nok, Image courtesy of Bangkok Post

Evidence gathered by Thai police indicates that Praween Chankhlai, aka Kamnan Nok a former subdistrict head of tambon Thakong in Nakhon Pathom’s Muang district, orchestrated the assassination of a senior highway police officer during a dinner party at the 35 year old’s residence on Wednesday evening. Deputy National Police Chief, Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn, who is leading the investigation, revealed that the authorities possess the evidence and remain in the process of investigation.

Additional details include the identification of those who abetted the shooter and the suspect’s escape, and the subsequent obliteration of evidence, such as CCTV footage and computer server data from the crime scene. Big Joke stated that at least four officers would face charges, and further investigation would scrutinise the 25 officers present during the incident which resulted in the death of Major Sivakorn Saibua, a local highway police station chief. Lieutenant Colonel Wasin Pandee, deputy commander of Highway Police Sub-division 2, sustained injuries during the ordeal.

The police have identified the gunman as 45 year old Thananchai Mamnak, who evaded the scene post-shooting and was later killed in a gunfight while resisting arrest on Friday morning. Kamnan Nok had surrendered to the police on Thursday evening.

A breakthrough in the case occurred during a raid at Kamnan Nok’s residence when a resident confessed to burying the murder weapon near a local waterworks agency’s reservoir in Muang district. The police later recovered a 9mm pistol wrapped in a tablecloth from the dinner party. This weapon will now undergo forensic examination.

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The investigative team revealed that the murder weapon was procured by a police officer in Nakhon Pathom through a police welfare gun scheme. The officer reportedly sold the gun to Kamnan Nok last month, who then handed it over to Thananchai.

Kamnan Nok refutes involvement in the crime, alleging that Thananchai acted independently. However, eyewitness accounts suggest that Kamnan Nok expressed rage when the victim denied a transfer request for Kamnan Nok’s nephew, who serves in the police force.

The Criminal Court has approved the police’s request for Kamnan Nok’s detention until September 20, during which further investigations and witness interrogations will continue. According to local laws, a suspect can be held for up to seven 12-day periods, or 84 days, before formal charges must be brought forth, or the suspect released.

Kamnan Nok, a prominent local figure who served as the subdistrict head of tambon Thakong for nine years, succeeding his late father, is known to have close ties with multiple police stations and politicians. Regular attendees at his home-hosted parties included officers of varying ranks and other officials. His wealth is attributed to his inheritance of two construction companies from his father, which have generated a revenue of 2.6 billion baht over the past five years, reported Bangkok Post.

Police inspector-general Police General Visanu Prasarttong-Osoth stated that the 25 officers present at the time of the shooting are also under investigation for potentially aiding Kamnan Nok’s illegal activities. The most severe consequence could be expulsion from the police force.

“They failed to perform their duty as policemen.”

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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