PACC called in Porlajee murder case

PACC called in Porlajee murder case

Role of park officials under scrutiny

A division head of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) has been called to give statements in connection with the murder of Karen activist Porlajee ''Billy" Rakchongcharoen, says the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang said yesterday the PACC's Pol Maj Siripong Sritula is among 20 additional witnesses to be interviewed by the DSI.

Pol Maj Siripong is chairman of the PACC's sub-committee investigating a group of Kaeng Krachan national park officials who say they detained Porlajee for allegedly collecting forest honey on April 17, 2014 -- the day of his disappearance.

Siripong: To answer DSI questions

The park officials said they failed to hand Porlajee over to Kaeng Krachan police for prosecution because they say he had been at odds with local police and the PACC investigators, said Pol Col Paisit.

At the time of his arrest, Porlajee was helping fellow ethnic Karen forest dwellers sue Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, then head of Kaeng Krachan National Park in Kanchanaburi province, for setting fire to their bamboo huts and rice barns during a series of forest evictions.

On May 22-24 this year, Border Patrol Police divers using a sonar-equipped underwater drone combed an area of the Kaeng Krachan reservoir under a rope bridge and found an oil barrel containing bone fragments.

The Central Institute of Forensic Science (CIFS) found one fragment was a piece of human skull which had been burned, cracked and shrunk due to exposure to extreme heat. DNA tests confirmed a match with Porlajee's mother, leading to the assumption the bone fragments were Porlajee's and that he was murdered.

CIFS director Wannapong Kotcharak yesterday said the institute will examine other bone fragments to seek a match with Porlajee's DNA. The results of the test, being performed at the DSI's request, will be announced in two weeks, he said. The institute will send the findings to accredited experts overseas for verification.

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