Breakthrough “soon’ in land scandal killing

PHUKET: A senior policeman in charge of investigating the murder that triggered the Phuket land title deeds scandal believes there will be a breakthrough in the case soon. Pongtorn Hiranyaburana, Deputy Chief of the Phuket Land Office, was shot execution-style on a lonely stretch of road as he drove home to his wife in Surat Thani on April 25. Officers believe that Pongtorn’s inquiries into land irregularities were on the verge of disclosing the names of the people responsible. His honesty was later praised by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Six months on, the new man in charge of the case, Pol Col Ronapong Saikaew, Superintendent of Investigation of Surat Thani Provincial Police Region 8, believes police are closing in on the key person involved. But he told the Gazette that he was reluctant to say too much for fear of tipping off the suspect. Although there is no direct connection between the two murder cases, Col Ronapong has now also been placed in charge of investigations into the double murder of the parents of Thepkrassatri Mayor Prasong Trairat. Sixty-five-year-old Prasert and Thavorn Trairat were gunned down in the shop that doubled as their home near the Baan Kian fresh market, on the road to Sarasin Bridge, on the evening of May 5. Another couple, Wipa Jantong and her husband Sompong Jantong, have been accused of masterminding the murders, allegedly carried out by three men, one of whom is said to have confessed to police. The alleged gunman, Pol Sgt Maj Chalaw Ramduang, formerly of the Sikow District Police in Trang, is still being hunted. Some people associated with the men now claim they are being made scapegoats – hence the involvement of Col Ronapong in the case. Mayor Prasong says he believes that justice will be done when the case goes before a judge. He said officers were gathering evidence that would stand up in court and he had confidence in the police handling the case.

Phuket News
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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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