Accused 'Billy' killer Chaiwat transferred to job in Pattani

Accused 'Billy' killer Chaiwat transferred to job in Pattani

Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn talks with officials at the Protected Area Regional Office 9 in Ubon Ratchathani province on Monday. (Photo by Nila Singkiri)
Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn talks with officials at the Protected Area Regional Office 9 in Ubon Ratchathani province on Monday. (Photo by Nila Singkiri)

Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, the former chief of Kaeng Krachan National Park accused of the high-profile murder of a Karen activist, has been transferred to the southern border province of Pattani.

Jatuporn Buruspat, permanent secretary at the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, said on Monday he had approved the transfer, as requested by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation.

He said the transfer was urgent, but had nothing to do with the legal case against Mr Chaiwat, who is  charged with murdering Karen rights activist Porlajee "Billy" Rakchongcharoen.

"The position at the Pattani Natural Resources and Environment Office was vacant because the former  director was transferred to Yala," Mr Jatuporn said.

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation proposed Mr Chaiwat be posted to fill the vacancy, which was within his authority, Mr Jatuporn said.

Mr Chaiwat has been serving as chief of Ubon Ratchathani-based Protected Area Regional Office 9. In Ubon Ratchathani province on Monday he declined to comment. He said he had not seen the transfer order.

Mr Chaiwat and three others are charged with the murder of Porlajee, 31, who went missing in April 2014. Porlajee was helping his relatives sue Mr Chaiwat for setting fire to their bamboo huts and rice barns during a series of forest evictions in Kaeng Krachan National Park.

Porlajee was last seen alive on April 17, 2014, after Mr Chaiwat and officials under him arrested the Karen activist for allegedly collecting wild honey in the forest.

Mr Chaiwat and three others surrendered to the Department of Special Investigation last Tuesday. They denied all charges. The DSI sought their detention in custody, but the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases released them on bail of 800,000 baht each.

The DSI on Monday asked the court to revoke the temporary release of Mr Chaiwat, saying that his recent interviews with journalists could confuse the public about the DSI's investigation.

Alternatively, the DSI told the court, Mr Chaiwat and the other three accused should wear monitoring devices and be banned from entering Kaeng Krachan National Park, to prevent tampering with witnesses and evidence.

The court will consider DSI's request on Nov 25.

The DSI earlier said it found convincing evidence in the national park in Phetchaburi province and believed Porlajee had been murdered and dumped in the Kaeng Krachan dam reservoir.


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