Pongtorn murder investigation shelved

PHUKET: The investigation into the assassination of land official Pongtorn Hiranyaburana, who was shot dead on the way to his home in Surat Thani in April last year, has officially been shelved, pending further evidence being presented to the police.

K. Pongtorn was the Deputy Chief of the Phuket Provincial Land Office (PPLO) and was ordered to look into the issuing of illegal land titles in Phuket.

Pol Col Ronapong Saikaew, Superintendent of Investigation at Surat Thani-based Police Region 8, told the Gazette, “We paused the investigation last month because we know only who the driver for the gunman was, but lack the evidence to arrest him.”

He explained that the investigation will be resumed only if fresh evidence from new cases matches evidence already collected in the Pongtorn murder investigation.

“It’s normal procedure. If we do not make an arrest [in a case] within a year [of the investigation being launched], we put the investigation on hold,” Col Ronapong said.

He also said that investigators have failed to make a connection between the murder of K. Pongtorn and Thawatchai Anukul, a former chief registrar of the PPLO wanted by police on charges of issuing illegal land titles. Thawatchai resigned from the PPLO shortly before the death of K. Pongtorn and disappeared.

“To be able to confirm whether there is a connection between Thawatchai and K. Pongtorn’s murder, we need to question the hired gunman. We can’t come to any conclusions now because we have not been able to get the gunman,” Col Ronapong said.

Phuket News
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