More arrests as 'Kim-eng' lese majeste plot unravels

More arrests as 'Kim-eng' lese majeste plot unravels

A former employee at the Royal Household Bureau has been arrested as an alleged member of a criminal plot unravels at the feet of fraud and lese majeste suspect Kamonthat "Kim-eng" Sae Thanathornkhositjira.

Ms Kamonthat is the elder half-sister of Monta "Ying Kai" Yokrattanakan, arrested recently in a high-profile case that involved numerous allegations of fraud, false imprisonment and at least one lese majeste offence.

Police detained Taworn Puangpratoom, 66, at his home in Bangkok's Huay Kwang district Monday night, according to Pol Maj Gen Sommai Kongwisaisuk, deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau. 

Mr Taworn was charged as an accomplice of Ms Kamonthat. The 62-year-old woman, also known as Kim-eng Sae Tia and Tum, faces allegations of fraud and falsifying documents in a scheme involving lese majeste offences. 

The arrest of Mr Taworn is seen as a significant breakthrough in the case.

The 66-year-old, who previously worked at the bureau’s Royal Chamberlains Division (Chitralada Palace) is part of an expanded investigation into a fund-raising scam in which Ms Kamonthat was accused of invoking the royal institution in a scam that swindled more than 3 million baht from victims, after she appeared in a TV programme celebrating the high institution.

The Criminal Court on Monday approved the police request to arrest Mr Taworn and another man, identified as Somsak Siriyakom, who is still at large. Mr Somsak faces the same charges as Mr Taworn.

Pol Maj Gen Sommai said six people have  lodged official complaints with police that they were conned by the alleged Kim-eng scheme. They include an army major-general and a colonel.

One of the victims said he had lost seven million baht. The ongoing investigation suggests more people were involved in Ms Kamonthat’s network than the three named so far, he added.   

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