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Former Thai minister sentenced for forgery, faces murder, kidnapping charges

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PHOTO: - The Nation

A former deputy commerce minister, police colonel and Member of Parliament has been sentenced to eight years in prison for forgery. The Bangkok South Criminal Court yesterday sentenced Banyin Tangpakorn for forging documents to transfer 263 million baht worth of shares to himself through two associates.

The ruling concludes the case believed to be behind Banyin’s alleged decision to kidnap the brother of the judge hearing his case. It’s believed the kidnapping in February was intended to influence the judge’s verdict in the share scandal. 70 year old Wirachai Sakuntaprasoet was murdered by his abductors, forcing the judge to withdraw from the forgery trial.

The court found Banyin guilty of forgery, colluding with two associates, Kanthana Siwathanapol, a former caddie, and stockbroker Uracha Wachirakulton. They illegally transferred the assets of late billionaire contractor Chuwong Sae Tang to Kanthana and Uracha’s mother Srithara Phromma. Kanthana and Uracha each got 4 years for forgery. The court acquitted Srithara due to insufficient evidence.

The verdict found that Uracha transferred 35 million baht worth of shares to her mother because stock market rules prohibited her from receiving transferred shares. Most of billionaire Chuwong’s shares were illegally put in Kanthana’s name, and the court found no evidence to support the defendants’ claim that Chuwong had given them the shares willingly.

But the verdict concluded that there was evidence, including CCTV footage, showing that Banyin is close to both Kanthana and Uracha. The shares were transferred before Chuwong died in a car crash in Bangkok in 2015. The vehicle was driven Banyin, who only sustained minor injuries.

Chuwong’s relatives believed he was murdered. Public prosecutors agreed in 2018 to indict Banyin for premeditated murder. The court has yet to rule on that charge.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times | Bangkok Post

 

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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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