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Police kingpins Pongpat, Kowit get 10 more years for money laundering



Police kingpins Pongpat, Kowit get 10 more years for money laundering | Thaiger


– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Police kingpins Pongpat, Kowit get 10 more years for money laundering
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Former crime-buster Pol Lt Gen Pongpat Chayaphan and a close police aide were yesterday given 10-year jail terms for money laundering. Five other members of the racket he ran received lesser penalties.

It was the third sentence Gen Pongpat and Pol Maj Gen Kowit Wongrungroj have received. An earlier court verdict on January 30 sentenced both men to six years for benefiting from a gambling den, while a second verdict on February 12 saw Gen Pongpat given a nine-month term for violating a forestry-related law.

The Criminal Court yesterday also sentenced another policeman, Pol Maj Gen Bunsueb Phraitheun, and four civilians to lighter penalties for their roles supporting money laundering under Gen Pongpat’s racketeering.

The judges originally handed a 20-year sentence each to Gen Pongpat and Gen Kowit, but halved the terms citing their guilty pleas and cooperation during the police investigation.

The other defendants also benefited from this half-term condition: Gen Bunsueb finally receiving an 18-month term, Chob and Piyaphan Chinaprapha, Pongpat’s brother-in-law and sister, receiving five years, while Rerngsak Saknarongdej and Sawong Mungthiang, who acted as Gen Pongpat’s nominees for acquiring assets, also received five years in jail.

Mr Rerngsak and Ms Sawong are already serving nine-month sentences for a January 20 verdict, while Gen Bunsueb, a former Marine Police Division chief, and Mr Chob and Ms Piyaphan received their first jail terms yesterday.

Acts of money laundering committed by the suspects were described in the indictment and included the purchase of several land plots with ill-gotten money supplied to Gen Pongpat and Gen Kowit through bribes, revenue from illegal gambling dens, and sales of police positions by corrupt officers, deposited into several bank accounts. A total of 223 million baht was spent on 92 plots of land.

The indictment in this case has also implicated two other suspects on the run but omitted Pol Col Akkharawut Limrat, who died beforehand.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


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