'Ice Metal Casket' jailed for aggravated rape

'Ice Metal Casket' jailed for aggravated rape

Police examine fragments of human bones collected from a pond in the back yard of the house of Apichai Ongwisit in Bang Khae area of Bangkok in January this year. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Police examine fragments of human bones collected from a pond in the back yard of the house of Apichai Ongwisit in Bang Khae area of Bangkok in January this year. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

The Thonburi Criminal Court has sentenced alleged killer Apichai Ongwisit, alias "Ice Metal Casket", to 11 years and four months in prison for rape involving use a firearm.

On the night of Dec 23, 2019 Apichai used a handgun to force a woman to go his house in Soi Phetkasem 47 in Bang Khae area, where he raped her.

Apichai initially denied the charges, but later reversed his statement and pleaded guilty.

The woman had demanded 508,000 baht in compensation. During the court trial, the two sides reached a settlement of 100,000 baht.

The court sentenced Apichai to 11 years and four months in jail for rape and illegal use of a firearm. The sentence is on top of a previous prison term of 10 years and five months handed down by the Thonburi Criminal Court on March 18 this year, when he was found guilty in a drug case.

Suriyan Hongwilai, spokesman for the Court of Justice, said the judgement in this case was read out via video-conference, from the Thonburi Criminal Court to the Thonburi Remand Prison where Apichai is serving his sentence -  one of the measures being taken to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The rape victim sent a LINE message to a friend, asking for help. She was rescued from Apichai's house by police from Phetkasem station, where she subsequently filed a complaint against him.

There are still two other cases against Apichai before the Thonburi Criminal Court.

One involves drugs and the other the concealment of a dead woman's body. The court is expected to rule on both cases in mid-January.

In January this year, Apichai, a wealthy property heir, was arrested for alleged involvement in the death of a 22-year-old woman, Warinthorn Chaiyachet, by police acting on information from drug suspect Chaloemchon Ngabua, 41. 

Chaloermchon, who hoped to get a softer sentence, claimed that he had worked as a security guard at Apichai's home, and had learned that Apichai had killed a woman.

He alleged Apichai hit the woman with a wooden stick and stuffed her inside a metal casket for two days. She died of suffocation. The victim's body was put in a large plastic bag and buried in the back garden, he alleged.

Police search Apichai's home and found the body of Warinthorn, leading to a forensic search of the property.

On Jan 16, a team of divers retrieved 28 bits of human ribs and hair from a pond, believed to belong to a girl aged 17-18. The next day, police found another 288 pieces of human bone,  wrapped up and weighed down with dumbbells, in the same pond. On Jan 23, at least 30 more human bone fragments were discovered, this time in a metal casket.

Police believed the bones were the remains of at least two other victims.

Apichai, whose nickname was "Ice",  was charged with concealment of Warinthorn's body, illegal possession of a gun and possession of 2,200 methamphetamine pills found in his home.

The case received wide publicity, and Apichai was dubbed "Ice Metal Casket".

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