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Former deputy commerce minister and 4 others plead not guilty to murder of judge’s brother

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Nation Thailand

In a case which has shocked the nation, former deputy commerce minister, MP and police lieutenant Banyin Tangpakorn and 4 co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to the abduction and murder of the brother of the senior Bangkok judge who was handling his multimillion baht stock theft case. They entered their pleas via video conference from prison yesterday.

The accused, including 56 year old Banyin, face charges related to the death of 67 year old Weerachai Sakuntaprasoet earlier this year. Prosecutors charged each of them in February with premeditated murder, fatal detention, coercing others, illegal assembly and concealing a body.

The other defendants are 67 year old Manat Thaptim, 48 year old Narongsak Pomchan, Chatchai Menkun, aged 31, 33 year old Prachawit Sithongsuk, and 63 year old Thongchai Wachisatcha, a police sergeant-major. All are natives of the lower northern Nakhon Sawan province.

Five of the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, while Narongsak pleaded guilty. The court adjourned the hearing until next month, when evidence and witness lists will be considered.

It’s alleged that Banyin and his five co-defendants kidnapped the elder brother of Bangkok South Criminal Court judge Phanida Sakuntaprasoet, to pressure her to drop charges in a 300 million baht stock fraud case against Banyin.

Weerachai was kidnapped right outside the court on February 4 and bundled into a van in broad daylight. It’s believed he was killed on or about February 5. His body was burned and the remains tossed into the Chao Phraya River in Nakhon Sawan. Banyin is also charged with impersonating a policee officer and illegally wearing a police uniform during the abduction.

Banyin was earlier found guilty of forging documents to set up the transfer of 300 million baht worth of shares owned by his 50 year old new​ friend, construction tycoon Chuwong sae Tang, to himself and two accomplices.

Banyin is also charged with Chuwong’s 2015 murder.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Thai Examiner

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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