Suspects indicted in Akeyuth case

Prosecutors have indicted four suspects in the murder of businessman Akeyuth Anchanbutr and asked the court to deny them bail.

Pol Sub Lt Pongniwat Yuthapanboripan, (right) director-general of the Attorney-General Office's Department of Criminal Litigation, speaks to the press about the indictment of four suspects in the Akeyuth Anchanbutr murder case. The dead man's driver, Santiphap Pengduang (left) reportedly has denied his confession that he directed the killing of the former Ponzi fund operator. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

The suspects were Akeyuth's driver Santiphap Pengduang and his alleged accomplices Sutthipong Pimpisarn, Chaowalit Woonchum and Thiwakorn Kuathong.

The Attorney-General Office's Department of Criminal Litigation director-general, Pongniwat Yuthapanboripan, said the four were indicted on seven charges.

The charges were premeditated murder, robbery, coercion and detention, concealing a body, and carrying firearms in public without valid reason.

Pol Sub Lt Pongniwat said prosecutors asked the court to order the suspects to pay the victim's family 1.7 million baht in compensation.

The amount is based on the value of Akeyuth's assets which disappeared during his abduction and have not been recovered.

Prosecutors also asked the court to deny the suspects bail as the charges carry a possible death sentence, he said.

Pol Sub Lt Pongniwat said prosecutors had also agreed to indict Mr Santiphap's parents, Ithipol and Jitampai Pengduang, for allegedly receiving stolen items.

He said the National Human Rights Commission's recent finding that Akeyuth's murder was probably carried out by professional killers rather than opportunistic thieves had no bearing on the indictments.

Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner Kamronwit Thoopkrajang shrugged off concerns that Mr Santiphap may retract his confession during the trial.

Lt Gen Kamronwit said he was confident police had a strong case backed by solid evidence.

He added that police had forwarded additional information to prosecutors, who had requested more evidence for the case.