Thai fugitive Chaowalit Thongduang to be extradited from Indonesia

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

High-profile jail escapee Chaowalit Thongduang will be extradited from Indonesia back to Thailand under tight security measures. Nakhon Si Thammarat Police Chief Somchai Seutortrakul confirmed that a special unit will receive the 37 year old inmate at Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport tomorrow.

Chaowalit, also known as Sia Paeng, who escaped from Maharaj Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital during a dental visit on October 22 last year, will be taken directly to Mueang Police Station. At the station, the murder suspect will face interrogation and formal charges related to his escape. Authorities have planned robust security measures both at the airport and along the convoy route, although specific details remain undisclosed.

Chaowalit’s attorney will be present throughout the entire process, which could span several days based on the suspect’s level of cooperation.

Having been serving a 20-year sentence for multiple crimes, including murder and firearms possession, Chaowalit managed to flee custody but was apprehended by Indonesian police in Bali last week. His arrest was connected to drug dealing, using a fake Indonesian ID card, and assaulting women.

Following his questioning and the notification of new charges by police, Chaowalit will be handed over to Corrections Department officials for further detention.

There have been differing statements from Thai authorities regarding the specifics of Chaowalit’s extradition. Provincial police sources indicate he will be flown directly to Nakhon Si Thammarat on an air force plane. In contrast, Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong has stated that the initial flight will land at Suvarnabhumi Airport before transferring Chaowalit to the southern province, reported Bangkok Post.

Security measures will be paramount during the transfer, reflecting the high-profile nature of Chaowalit’s case and his previous escape.

ORIGINAL STORY: Major Thai fugitive arrested in Bali after 7 months on the run

The Thai Ministry of Justice, in coordination with Indonesian authorities, successfully arrested a major fugitive in Bali, Indonesia, after he had been on the run since October of last year.

The fugitive, Chaowalit “Paeng” Thongduang, faced a sentence of 20 years and six months for aiding the escape of a gang member arrested on drug charges. He was also implicated in other criminal activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and the murder of former district chief Anan Klungchan.

While serving his sentence, Chaowalit was sent to the Maharat Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital on October 22 for dental treatment. He reportedly lost consciousness during treatment but this was later revealed to be part of his escape plan.

The 37 year old prisoner escaped from the hospital on that night with the help of a gang member and a medical worker at the hospital. He managed to hide from officials for about seven months and even released a livestream to criticise the authorities for their unfair treatment of his case.

Despite the livestreaming video, the Thai authorities were unable to locate and arrest Chaowalit until yesterday morning, May 30. The Justice Minister, Tawee Sodsong, reported that Chaowalit was arrested by local police officers while he was travelling in Bali in Indonesia.

Tawee explained that Chaowalit entered Indonesia using a counterfeit passport and primarily hid in Medan City. His arrest was prompted by an argument with a local woman while they were travelling together in Bali, which caught the attention of the police.

Channel 7 reported that another key clue leading to Chaowalit’s location was the arrest of a policewoman, Police Senior Sergeant Major Ploenpit, on the kidnapping of an Indonesian man in the southern province of Phatthalung on May 11.

Ploenpit allegedly had a close relationship with Chaowalit and shared sensitive information about police operations, facilitating his escape.

Tawee revealed that several women had travelled from Thailand to Indonesia to meet Chaowalit, aiding the authorities in tracking him down. These women were not relatives or family members, and police will investigate their relationship with him.

A video of Chaowalit being questioned by local officers circulated on Thai social media, showing him pretending to be mute and refusing to answer questions.

It is anticipated that Chaowalit will be transferred to Thailand today under strict measures to prevent him from trying another daring escape.

Crime NewsThailand News

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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