Ailing Kamnan Poh wins early release from prison
Somchai Khunploem, better known as Kamnan Poh, or the "Godfather of Chon Buri" was freed from jail yesterday after he was deemed to have met "special" criteria for early release.
Corrections Department director-general Pol Col Narat Sawettanan, said Somchai qualified for early release because of age and ill health. He is now 80 and suffering from stage 4 cancer.
Justice Minister ACM Prajin Juntong approved Somchai's early release on Dec 14 and the order was sent to the Police Hospital where he was being treated, the corrections chief said.
Somchai, one of the most powerful figures in Chon Buri, went on the run in 2006 for seven years before being arrested in January 2013 by a team of police commandos as he was travelling in a vehicle in eastern Bangkok.
He was later sentenced by the Supreme Court to 25 years in prison for hiring a gunman to murder Prayoon Sitthichoke, known as Kamnan Yoon, at a wedding reception in March 2003. He was also sentenced to three years and four months in jail for abuse of power in connection with a land plot purchase.
In March 2015 his sentence was cut by five years and eight months on the occasion of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's 60th birthday. He was originally scheduled for release in September 2035.
Pol Col Narat said Somchai's early release was not connected to the recent royal pardon by His Majesty the King in which 283 inmates saw their sentences suspended.
This group including former Election Commission chairman Vasana Permlarb and former EC member Prinya Nakchudtree had all served at least two-thirds of their jail terms and were qualified to receive the royal pardon.