Gold-shop killer trial scheduled for April

Gold-shop killer trial scheduled for April

Three died in armed robbery in Lop Buri

Prasittichai Khaokaew, the former director of Wat Pho Chai School in Sing Buri, arrives at the Criminal Court in Bangkok from Bangkok Remand Prison on Monday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
Prasittichai Khaokaew, the former director of Wat Pho Chai School in Sing Buri, arrives at the Criminal Court in Bangkok from Bangkok Remand Prison on Monday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

The Criminal Court on Monday set April 13-17 for the trial of a former school headmaster who faces nine charges in connection with the armed robbery of a gold shop in Lop Buri province on Jan 9.

Prasittichai Khaokaew, 38, former director of Wat Pho Chai School in neighbouring Sing Buri province, pleaded guilty to charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, aggravated robbery with the use of a firearm, and illegal possession of weapons and ammunition.

The trial was scheduled after the prosecution presented its list of witnesses to the court.

Fourteen people will testify during the five-day trial while Mr Prasittichai was the only witness presented by the defence. The defendant is scheduled to testify on April 17.

The Criminal Court also granted Mr Prasittichai's request to negotiate with the victims over their compensation, scheduling the negotiation on April 1.

In its lawsuit, the prosecution said the defendant, who was armed with an automatic 9mm pistol fitted with a silencer, entered the Robinson Department Store in Lop Buri’s Muang district on Jan 9 evening to rob the Aurora gold shop.

The defendant is accused of shooting and killing three people, including a two-year-old boy, and wounding four others before making off with gold necklaces worth 664,470 baht on a motorcycle. According to the prosecution, the defendant has confessed to the charges.

Most of the stolen gold was found hidden in the roof of the carport at his father’s house in Lop Buri’s Muang district following Mr Prasittichai's arrest on Jan 22 in Lop Buri.

Mr Prasittichai claimed that he had robbed the gold shop because he wanted some excitement in his life. However, police believed that the financial problems were the real motive as he was found to owe more than 2 million baht to teachers’ cooperatives and Krungthai Bank.

Mr Prasittichai had previously spent 300,000 baht on a BMW Z4, which was later seized in a crackdown on illegally imported cars and led him to be fined 600,000 baht. The school director earned more than 30,000 baht a month, but after deductions, he had little left to fund his luxury lifestyle.

The prosecution opposed bail for the defendant claiming he was a flight risk. He was later moved to Bangkok Remand Prison pending trial.


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