Park official told to blame boss for Billy's death

Park official told to blame boss for Billy's death

Former Kaeng Krachan chief produces recording said to be of police officer proposing to frame him

Winai Buasri (right), legal affairs chief of the Protected Area Regional Office 9, files a complaint on behalf of the former Kaeng Krachan park chief with Pol Lt Col Pramote Chuenta, deputy chief of Muang Ubon Ratchathani police station, on Friday. (Photo by Nila Singkiree)
Winai Buasri (right), legal affairs chief of the Protected Area Regional Office 9, files a complaint on behalf of the former Kaeng Krachan park chief with Pol Lt Col Pramote Chuenta, deputy chief of Muang Ubon Ratchathani police station, on Friday. (Photo by Nila Singkiree)

UBON RATCHATHANI: Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, the former chief of Kaeng Krachan National Park, claims his former subordinate was persuaded to finger him as the mastermind of the murder of Karen activist Porlajee "Billy" Rakchongcharoen.

He made the claim in a formal complaint filed on Friday with Pol Lt Col Pramote Chuenta, deputy chief of Muang Ubon Ratchathani police station. 

Winai Buasri, legal affairs chief of the Protected Area Regional Office 9, acting on behalf of Mr Chaiwat, gave police a CD containing an 11-minute audio clip to back the claim. It purports to be a conversation between an official of the Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi province and a police officer of the Provincial Police Region 7 supervising Phetchaburi.

In the clip, the police officer persuaded the park official to frame Mr Chaiwat as the mastermind who ordered the murder of Billy. The policeman offered to treat him as a witness in exchange, Mr Winai said, adding that Mr Chaiwat would seek protection for the park official in the clip.

The complaint was filed after the Department of Special Investigation announced on Tuesday that Billy was murdered after it found bones with what was believed to be his DNA.

Billy was last seen on April 17, 2014 in the custody of Kaeng Krachan Park officials.

At the time of his arrest, he was helping his relatives, a group of ethnic Karen, to sue Mr Chaiwat for setting fire to their bamboo huts and rice barns during a series of forest evictions.

Mr Chaiwat later claimed Billy was arrested for collecting wild honey, but was released after being given a warning.

On Friday, Thanya Netithammakul, director-general of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, transferred four officials of Kaeng Krachan park to inactive posts to pave the way for investigation into Billy's death. One of them reportedly resigned after receiving the transfer notice.


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