Banyin defiant, but others confess in kidnap-murder case

Banyin defiant, but others confess in kidnap-murder case

Pol Lt Gen Banyin Tangpakorn, the prime suspect in the abduction and murder of the elder brother of a senior judge, at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok, when police on Tuesday sought approval from the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases to detain him and other suspects for further investigation. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Pol Lt Gen Banyin Tangpakorn, the prime suspect in the abduction and murder of the elder brother of a senior judge, at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok, when police on Tuesday sought approval from the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases to detain him and other suspects for further investigation. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

Five of the six suspects arrested and charged in with the kidnapping and murder of the elder brother of a Bangkok South Criminal Court senior judge have confessed, but Pol Lt Col Banyin Tangpakorn, the prime suspect, still denied the charges, a police source said on Tuesday.

According to the source, the confessions from the five - Manat Thapnin, 67, Narongsak Pomchan,  49, Prachawit Srithongsuk, 34, Chatchai Menkul, 31, and Thongchai Waleesajja, 62 - came during intense interrogation on Monday night at the Crime Suppression Division.

However, Pol Lt Col Banyin, 56, the alleged mastermind, continued to deny the charges.

The six have been charged with colluding with others in the kidnapping and murder of Wirachai Sakuntaprasoet, an elder brother of Bangkok South Criminal Court senior judge Phanida Sakuntaprasoet.

On Tuesday morning, a CSD special operation unit took two suspects - Mr Chatchai and Mr Prachawit - from Huay Khwang police station, and another suspect - Mr Narongsak - from Suthisarn police station, where they were detained, to stage a re-enactment of crime at two spots.

The first was in front of house No 9/13 on Soi Ratchada 33 in Chatuchak district, where the three suspects said Pol Lt Col Banyin met the five other suspects and told them he had a job for them. He allegedly said it was the abduction of an elderly person. Pol Lt Col Banyin then allegedly gave them each a set of clothes and a cap to wear during the kidnapping.

After that the three suspects were taken to the second re-eenactment spot, opposite the Bangkok South Criminal Court on Soi Charoenkrung 63 in Sathorn district.

It was where the six suspects allegedly waited to abduct Wirachai on Feb 4. Pol Lt Col Banyin, wearing a police uniform, a helmet and a face mask, allegedly arrived in a Toyota Fortuner with Mr Narongsak, Mr Chatchai and Mr Prachawit on board.

When Wirachai showed up, Mr Narongsak allegedly grabbed him and Mr Chatchai helped push him into the vehicle. All of them left in the same car. Wirachai was gagged with adhesive tape and his head was covered with a cloth bag.

On the way, a threatening call was made to the victim's sister, judge Phanida. A car seat was lowered and Wirachai was beaten about the body. The car headed for Nakhon Sawan via Rama 5 road, in Bang Bua Thong district of Suphan Buri.

According to the three suspects, Wirachai died on the way. The original plan, to abduct Wirachai to put pressure on the judge, instead became a murder cover-up, they said.

After the re-enactment of the crime, the three suspects were taken back to the CSD.

At 12.40pm, all six suspects were moved from the CSD to the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases, where police applied for approval to detain them for further investigation.

At the court, Pol Lt Col Banyin and the other suspects refused to answer reporters' questions.

Judge Phanida is due to rule on March 20 in another case against Pol Lt Col Banyin.

He is accused of forging documents to set up the transfer of 300 million baht worth of shares from the estate of his friend and businessman Chuwong Sae Tang, found dead in the front passenger seat after a car driven by the former deputy commerce minister hit a tree on the side of a road in 2015. The car suffered only minor damage. There were no witnesses to the accident.


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