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Deputy mayor victim of “poisoning’ attempt

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Deputy mayor victim of “poisoning’ attempt | Thaiger

THALANG: Police are investigating whether a bottle of water in the Thepkrasattri Municipal Offices contained poison – and whether it was part of a murder attempt by municipal officers bent on revenge after being accused of embezzlement of municipal funds. Accusations of skulduggery and fraud – and possible links to a double murder – were flying today at the troubled municipal offices. The man who sipped the contaminated water from the glass, the 49-year-old Deputy Mayor for Public Health and Environment, Manoch Chotivarananon, is sure the water was laced with poison. At about 4 pm last Friday, he explained, an officer poured him a glass from a bottle in the office refrigerator. “When the glass reached my mouth, I realized it wasn’t just water,” he told the Gazette. “A little bit went down my throat,” he said. “I spat out the rest and when it hit the floor it fizzed. I rinsed out my mouth quickly and officers helped me to get to Thalang Hospital. He stayed in hospital overnight but, ignoring doctors’ recommendations, discharged himself the following day. “I’m still confused as to why I was poisoned because I don’t have any conflicts with other people,” he told the Gazette. “I don’t want to point the finger at anyone until this matter becomes clearer because it will be dangerous for me to talk more, and may also affect the case.” The reason K. Manoch immediately suspected he had been poisoned was the bitter atmosphere at the municipal offices on Thepkrassatri Rd, close to the Thalang Municipal Offices and the local police station. Suspicion and distrust have permeated the offices since the double murder of Mayor Prasong Trairat’s parents, Prasert and Thavorn Trairat, by gunmen at their home on May 5 last year. The shootings came soon after the mayor’s father, a community leader, made accusations of corruption at the Thepkrassatri municipal offices. No one has yet been brought to justice for hiring the killers, but one official was later transferred to Cherng Talay as a result of the accusations. Mayor Prasong told the Gazette that he believed someone deliberately put the poisoned water in a bottle in the refrigerator in the finance division at the offices. “I’m not sure, though, whether that person wanted to murder some of the new financial officers who have just been appointed to work here,” he said. “I have found many suspect projects and have established that the old financial team of the municipality created some problems,” K. Prasong said. “For example, there was a football project that the Municipality organized. The amount in the bank should be 160,000 baht, but when I checked, there was only 268 baht left in the account. “The police are investigating,” he said. “I think it must be someone in the Municipality because other people normally don’t have access to this refrigerator. I don’t think K. Manoch is the one the criminal intended to kill.” Pol Lt Col Jumroon Playdoung of Thalang Police Station said, “We have talked with K. Manoch and to the officer who gave him the glass of water but she didn’t know anything about poison. If it is an attempt at murder, the motive is still not clear. We have to investigate further.” He added, “I believe K. Manoch was probably not the real target but we are not sure who was.” While police theorize that acid may have been added to the water, they are now awaiting the results of lab tests being performed in Bangkok.

 

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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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