Pheu Thai MP convicted of murder

Pheu Thai MP convicted of murder

Pheu Thai MP for Khon Kaen Nawat Tohcharoensuk (file photo)
Pheu Thai MP for Khon Kaen Nawat Tohcharoensuk (file photo)

KHON KAEN: The provincial court on Tuesday convicted Pheu Thai MP for Khon Kaen Nawat Tohcharoensuk of masterminding the murder of an assistant chief of the Khon Kaen provincial administrative organisation six years ago.

Pol Maj Gen Pairote Kujiraphan, investigative commander of Provincial Police Region 4, said at the Khon Kaen Court that the court found Nawat, 52, guilty of hiring other defendants, including two former policemen, to shoot dead Suchart Khotethum, then assistant chief of the Khon Kaen provincial administration organisation.

The victim was shot dead in front of his home in Muang district of Khon Kaen May 3, 2013, as he was about to leave for work.

The court found Nawat guilty as charged and sentenced him to death.

The court also ordered Nawat to pay 300,000 baht in compensation for the funeral costs of the dead man, said Pol Maj Gen Pairote, who had handled interrogation during the case.

The ruling was based on witnesses' testimony, forensic evidence and phone calls, he said.

Nawat requested release on bail, pending an appeal. After due consideration the court denied the request and he was ordered held in custody. 

Other defendants in a separate but related case are Pol Snr Sgt Maj Veerasak Channanpol, former head of a crime suppression squad of Nong Rua police station in Khon Kaen; Pol Lt Col Somjit Kaewprom, former deputy superintendent of Nong Rua police; Prapan Sripilai; Boonchuay Jungklang; and Piyapong Meekampang.

In January 2017, the Appeal Court sentenced them to death and commuted the penalty to life imprisonment, except for Pol Lt Col Somjit, for their useful statements.

Nawat faced an arrest warrant on April 3 last year and surrendered on April 23. He had been released on bail of 2 million baht.

The Khon Kaen provincial court found that Nawat ordered the murder because the victim had an affair with his wife. On the eve of the murder, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Veerasak, Pol Lt Col Somjit and Prapan met Nawat at his home in Muang district of Khon Kaen. Then the three traveled past the victim's home and Prapan was sent to Nawat's home.

The court also found that Nawat and Pol Lt Col Somjit communicated via several phone calls before, on and after the murder date. Suchart was shot dead with several rounds of ammunition.

Nawat used to run a construction business in Nong Rua district of Khon Kaen and was an executive of the Khon Kaen provincial administrative organisation.

Nawat is also accused of physical assault on fellow Pheu Thai MP Yutthapong Charasathien at their party headquarters on Sept 10.

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