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Land official murder case stalled

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Land official murder case stalled | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: The investigation into the murder in April last year of land official Pongtorn Hiranyaburana has gone cold and police officials have stopped interrogating witnesses, citing lack of evidence. Pol Col Ronapong Saikaew, Superintendent of Investigation of Police Region 8, told the Gazette today, “We have to investigate more and check to see if the evidence found at the scene is somehow related to other cases [we are investigating]. We need a fresh lead in order to get closer to the people involved.” K. Pongtorn, Deputy Chief of the Phuket Land Office at the time of his murder, was shot dead on the way to his home in Surat Thani on April 25, 2003. Police are assuming that the killing was related to an investigation K. Pongtorn was conducting into the issue of land deeds on the island, Col Ronapong said. The colonel announced on November 11 last year that officers expected a breakthrough and were closing in on a key person involved in the killing, but the case has since stalled. “We know who the gunmen were, but we don’t have enough evidence [to issue arrest warrants]. The driver fled to the Northeast and the gunmen are likely somewhere in central Thailand. There were at least three people involved in this murder,” he said. “From the outset, we have assumed that the masterminds are from Phuket and that they are still living here. “I still can’t say when I expect to bring the suspects in for interrogation,” he added.

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