Family split over murder inquiry
The relatives of slain businessman Akeyuth Anchanbutr remain at odds over whether the investigation into his murder should continue, a lawyer representing the family has revealed.
- Published: 16/06/2013 at 12:00 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
AT CLOSE RANGE: Sutthipong Pimpisarn, one of the four suspects in the murder of businessman Akeyuth Anchanbutr, shows how he approached Akeyuth after the latter got inside the vehicle. Nititorn Lamlua, a member of the slain businessman’s legal team, took part in the re-enactment at the Metropolitan Police Bureau Saturday.
Suwat Apaipak, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) lawyer who leads a legal team working on the case, said Saturday some relatives did not want to pursue the case because they were still shocked and fearful.
He said the younger sister and elder sister of Akeyuth thought the case should be laid to rest whereas the elder brother and the son of Akeyuth wanted police to continue the probe.
Arunee Sunthornpattararak, a younger sister of Akeyuth, said on Friday that she believed robbery was the motive behind the murder of her elder brother, as suggested by police. She believed the killing was inspired by simple greed.
Akeyuth's brother, Akaranant Ruangnantawong, and his son, Kongkarun Sriprasarn, have so far refused to give interviews to reporters.
"His family may need more time to consult among themselves on the matter," Mr Suwat said, adding that the Anchanbutr family is expected to make their stance clear after the cremation ceremony Monday.
He said the team of lawyers was duty-bound to follow the wishes of their clients. If the relatives decide that the case should be stopped, the lawyers must act accordingly, Mr Suwat said.
Police investigators allowed the lawyers to question Sutthipong Pimpisarn, one of the four murder suspects, at the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB).
Mr Sutthipong surrendered to police on Thursday and was brought before the media on Friday.
After he was questioned by the legal team, Mr Sutthipong was taken to the Criminal Court where police sought permission to detain him for 12 days.
The other suspects are Akeyuth's driver Santiphap Pengduang, Chaowalit Woonchum and Thiwakorn Kuathong.
They have been charged with murder, robbery and concealment of a body, among other charges.
Mr Santiphap has confessed to murdering Akeyuth, police said. Mr Sutthipong denied killing him, although police say Mr Sutthipong was in the black Volkswagen van used to abduct Akeyuth and he was also at the murder scene.
Mr Chaowalit and Mr Thiwakorn helped bury the body, police alleged.
Speaking after two hours of questioning the suspects, Mr Suwat said he was still not convinced Mr Sutthipong and Mr Santiphap were the only two believed to be involved in the killing.
Mr Suwat said he did not believe Mr Santiphap.
After he was arrested, Mr Santiphap lied repeatedly to police investigators and the legal team, Mr Suwat said.
He urged the investigators to continue gathering evidence to back their case to ensure the court would not dismiss it.
Mr Suwat said he was still sceptical about some issues and he would provide investigators with additional information on them, such as why the suspects threw Akeyuth's belongings into a river if robbery was their motive.
He said other motives for the murder, including a political motive, had not yet been ruled out. Akeyuth was a staunch critic of and campaigner against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the current Yingluck government.
Mr Suwat said Akeyuth's relatives had asked the lawyers to withdraw a defamation suit brought by Akeyuth against MPB police chief Pol Lt Gen Khamronwit Thoopkrachang and five police officers.
The lawsuit stemmed from a brawl at a karaoke bar in December last year, in which Akeyuth was implicated. Pol Lt Gen Khamronwit had held a press conference to provide details about the case, prompting Akeyuth to sue for defamation.
MPB deputy chief Pol Maj Gen Anuchai Lekbamrung, said investigators will continue to handle the murder case strictly in line with the law.
Meanwhile, a search continued for a second day yesterday to find some of Akeyuth's belongings in Klong Cha-uad Phraek Muang in Hua Sai district of Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Mr Santiphap allegedly told police that after he had killed Akeyuth, he had thrown the belongings into the canal.
Divers from the Marine Police Division had not yet found anything.
About the author
- Writer: Thanida Tansubhapol and Wassayos Ngamkham