Kamnan Poh probe extended

Police in charge of finding who helped the fugitive "godfather of Chon Buri" Somchai Khunploem evade justice need another 15 days to wrap up the investigation, Crime Suppression Division (CSD) chief Pol Maj Gen Supisarn Phakdinaruenart said Tuesday.

  • Published: 19/02/2013 at 09:33 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

The investigation team could not finish the report in the time allotted because they had not received information from Samitivej Srinakarind Hospital, Pol Maj Gen Supisarn said. 

Investigators are looking into who aided Somchai, better known as Kamnan Poh, in his six-year flight from arrest after conviction on murder and corruption charges. Suspects include Somchai's relatives and state officials.

Officers earlier sought a search warrant from the Criminal Court for Somchai’s medical records and the facts behind his fake name, "Kim Sae Tang" while receiving treatment for nose cancer and high blood pressure at Samitivej in Bangkok. 

The court rejected the warrant request.

Somchai, 75, was arrested on a Bangkok expressway after a hospital visit on Jan 30.

The investigation team have summoned for questioning the three people who accompanied Somchai in the Lexus car in which he was apprehended. They are Vinai Ponpaiparn, 50, the kamnan of tambon Samet of Chon Buri's Muang district, Walai Kwanjit, Somchai's personal doctor, and Prasong Charoenpol, the driver of the Lexus.

All claimed they were unaware the former fugitive was back in Thailand until they received a call that day to accompany him to hospital.

Pol Maj Gen Supisarn said the three testified they were neither harbouring Somchai or abetting his escape from arrest. 

Investigators would ask officers in Mr Somchai’s arrest team whether they had seen the three accompany the suspect before and how many times. 

After his arrest, Somchai  was moved on Feb 4 from the Corrections Department hospital in Bangkok to Chon Buri prison, where his condition allegedly deteriorated almost immediately. Prison authorities said he had to be taken to an intensive care unit at Chon Buri Hospital later the same day.

His condition has since improved and he was able to leave the ICU on Feb 11. Somchai remains under close care as he had developed symptoms related to heart problems, the hospital director Assada Teeyaphan said.

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Writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
Position: Reporter

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