A Thai man has been arrested for a murder committed in Japan almost 20 years ago, just months before he could no longer have been prosecuted.
Veerasak Iemponsa in police custody after his apprehension by Thai police in Nakhon Si Thammarat yesterday. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN
Murder suspect caught after 19 years
For Veerasak Iempongsa, a 39-year-old Thai man from Trang province, March 14, 2013 was a very important date. If he could hide from the police until that date, Japanese authorities would be powerless to prosecute him for a murder he had committed in their country 20 years earlier.
Mr Veerasak is wanted by Japanese authorities for the murder of Awaji Megumi, 33, in her room on March 14, 1993, when Mr Veerasak worked as a bar host in Shinjuku.
With Japan's 20-year statute of limitations quickly approaching, Pol Col Uichi Hara from Tokyo was assigned by the Japanese government to work with Thailand's Crime Suppression Division to help arrest Mr Veerasak who had returned to Thailand.
Tokyo police had gathered evidence and sought a court warrant for his arrest, but there is no extradition treaty between Thailand and Japan.
CSD deputy chief Prasopchok Prommoon said the CSD, local prosecutors and Japanese police worked together closely before a warrant was issued for Mr Veerasak's arrest.
Yesterday Mr Veerasak was apprehended when a passenger bus he was travelling on stopped on Phetkasem Road in Nakhon Si Thammarat's Thung Song district.
It was the first case in which a Thai suspect has committed a crime outside the country but Thailand has issued an arrest warrant, the CSD deputy chief said.
Mr Veerasak said he had worked as a host at a bar in Japan where women go to pick up men. He met Megumi there.
The woman invited him to stay with her in her apartment, the suspect said.
He and the woman had a big quarrel after he had been there four or five days. He claimed the woman looked down on him for being a sex worker and spat on him. According to police, this drove him to stab her in the neck and strangle her with a belt. He fled with some cash and other valuables.
During his 19 years on the run, he worked informally as a hired hand in several provinces and in Cambodia.
Adapted from a story in today's Bangkok Post by Wassayos Ngamkham.
in custody – under the control of the police, usually in a jail อยู่ใต้การคุ้มครอง
apprehension – arrest การจับกุม
murder – the crime of intentionally killing a person ฆาตกรรม, การฆาตกรรม
suspect – a person who is thought to have committed a crime ผู้ต้องสงสัย
authorities – the police or people in official organisations who have the legal power to make people obey laws or rules เจ้าหน้าที่ (ตำรวจ หรือผู้มีอำนาจ)
powerless – without power to control or to influence somebody/something ไม่มีอำนาจ, ไม่สามารถ, หมดหนทาง
prosecute – to officially accuse someone of a crime and to try to prove them guilty in a court of law ดำเนินคดี ฟ้องร้อง ซักฟอก
commit – to do something wrong or illegal ทำความผิด
statute of limitations – the legal limit on the period of time within which action can be taken on a crime or other legal question อายุความ
approach – to move or come closer เข้าใกล้
assign – to give a person a particular task or position มอบหมาย, สั่งงาน
suppression – stopping an activity from happening, in this case, criminal activity การปราบปราม
gather – to search for and find things that you need or want รวบรวม
evidence – facts statements or objects that help to prove whether or not someone has committed a crime หลักฐาน
sought (past tense of seek) – asked for something, or to tried to get something พยายามได้มา
arrest warrant – a document signed by a judge allowing police to arrest someone หมายจับ
extradition – sending someone accused of a crime back to the country where the crime was committed for trial or punishment การส่งผู้ร้ายข้ามแดน
treaty – a written agreement between two or more countries formally approved and signed by their leaders ข้อตกลง, สนธิสัญญา
deputy – a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
prosecutor – a lawyer whose job is to prove in court that someone accused of a crime is guilty อัยการ
issue – to officially announce or give out ออก, ออกคำสั่ง
apprehended – arrested; caught by the police ถูกจับ, โดนจับกุม
invite – to ask somebody to go somewhere or do something เชิญ
quarrel – an argument or strong disagreement การทะเลาะเบาะแว้ง
claim – to say that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it อ้าง
look down on – to fail to give someone respect ดูถูก
spit (past form: spat)– to force something out from your mouth พ่น,ถุย, บ้วนน้ำลาย
stab – to kill or hurt someone by pushing a knife or other sharp object into their body แทงด้วยอาวุธ
strangle – to kill somebody by squeezing or pressing on their throat and neck ฆ่าโดยการบีบคอ
belt – a long narrow piece of leather, cloth, etc. that you wear around the waist เข็มขัด
fled (past of flee) – escaped; left an area very quickly because of a danger there หนีไป
cash – money in the form of notes or coins เงินสด
valuables – small possessions that are worth a lot of money, for example jewellery ของล้ำค่า
informally – not officially ไม่เป็นทางการ
hired hand – someone who is paid to work for a person or an organisation ลูกจ้าง