Police are following the trail of about 78 million baht that circulated through bank accounts operated by alleged serial killer Sararat “Aem” Rangsiwuthaporn.
Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn said on Wednesday that 78 million baht had passed through bank accounts held by Ms Sararat. The money had been transferred to 11-12 people, said Pol Gen Surachate, who is leading the investigation.
The investigation was now being extended to find out if any of those people were involved in crimes believed committed by the suspect. If so, investigators would seek court warrants for their arrest.
Pol Gen Surachate was briefing reporters on progress and developments in the case.
The investigation was now about 80% complete. "We are just awaiting the money trail, details of her bank accounts and forensic results before putting all the evidence into the police report. The investigation is expected to be finalised on Friday,’’ he said.
Police have also taken testimony from an insurance agent who said the suspect had been talking with her about buying a 7-million-baht health and life policy for one of her alleged victims, her late boyfriend. The annual premium would have been 100,000 baht.
Ms Sararat, 36, dubbed “Aem Cyanide’’, was arrested on April 25 at the government complex on Chaeng Watthana Road in Bangkok on a warrant issued by the Criminal Court. She is currently four months pregnant.
The arrest followed a complaint filed by the mother and elder sister of Siriporn “Koy” Khanwong, 32, of Kanchanaburi. Siriporn collapsed and died beside the Mae Klong river in Ban Pong district of Ratchaburi, where she had gone with Ms Sararat to release fish for merit-making on April 14. Cyanide was found in her body. The list of her alleged victims has continued to grow.
On Tuesday, the Criminal Court approved an arrest warrant for Ms Sararat for allegedly poisoning a 15th victim with cyanide in 2015.
Monthathip “Sai” Khao-in was found dead in her apartment in Bangkok’s Thong Lor area on July 7, 2015. The autopsy report gave heart failure as the cause of her death. Her belongings, including the house key that Ms Sararat held, were reported to have been lost after her death.
Ms Sararat is being detained at the Central Women’s Correctional Institution in Bangkok. On Tuesday police presented her with the latest arrest warrant and pressed the most recent murder charge against her.
She now faces 15 arrest warrants, 14 for premediated murder and one for attempted murder, Pol Gen Surachate said.
Most of the victims were linked to the suspect through pyramid schemes and mortgaging of cars, Pol Gen Surachate said.
“All the dead victims were found to have been with Aem before they died. Some stayed with her as long as 10 hours. Others were with her three to four hours. All the murders were for the purpose of clearing debts,’’ he said.
Pol Gen Surachate said previously that all 15 reported victims had been poisoned with cyanide that was placed in drinking water, food or medicines in the form of capsules. (continues below)
An insurance agent, a former school mate of alleged serial killer Sararat "Aem" Rangsiwuthaporn, arrives at the Royal Thai Police Sports Club in Bangkok to give information to deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn on Wednesday. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Ms Sararat's ex-husband, a senior police officer, was arrested last week on charges relating to her alleged offences.
Pol Lt Col Withoon Rangsiwuthaporn was deputy superintendent of Suan Phueng station in Ratchaburi, has been fired from the force and charged with receiving stolen property, jointly forging official documents and jointly using forged official documents.
Investigators sought an arrest warrant for the 39-year-old policeman after learning he had picked up his former wife in Udon Thani after the death of her boyfriend, Sutthisak “Dae” Phoonkhwan.
The pair then took Sutthisak’s white Chevrolet Captiva from the northeastern province to Nakhon Pathom where they pledged it as loan collateral, Pol Gen Surachate said.
Even though the couple had divorced, they still lived together, partly because they had two children, a 13-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy, to care for. She began a relationship with Sutthisak as she wanted his assets, according to Pol Gen Surachate.
Meanwhile, unofficial lab tests have found no cyanide in samples of herbal medicines at the house of Ms Sararat’s elder sister in Ratchaburi.
Pol Col Sommart Chantharat, chief of Bang Phae police station in Ratchaburi, on Wednesday led forensic and health officials to collect additional evidence at the sister's house in tambon Wang Yen of Bang Phae district. They were there for about two hours.
They had earlier collected samples of herbal medicines and capsules from the house on April 27 and sent them to Weerachai Phutdhawong, an assistant professor of chemistry at Kasetsart University, for testing. The unofficial results showed no cyanide in those samples, Pol Col Sommart said.
At this stage, her elder sister was considered innocent, the Bang Phae police chief said.
The evidence collected on Wednesday included empty capsules and more capsules containing herbal medicines, and other items, and would be sent to the Department for Medical Sciences for lab testing, said Pol Col Sommart.
Ms Sararat’s elder sister, whose name was not disclosed, has been insistent that she was not involved in Ms Sararat's alleged offences, and that the case had weighed heavily on herself and her family's mental well-being.
On Wednesday morning, an insurance agent gave information to Pol Gen Surachate about a health and life insurance package that Ms Sararat had wanted to buy for her since-deceased lover Sutthisak “Dae’’.
The insurance agent, whose name was withheld, said she was a school classmate of Ms Sararat. In early January, she and Ms Sararat had talked about life insurance packages. Ms Sararat wanted to buy an insurance package for Sutthisak, who she said was not healthy. She looked at a policy with a premium of 100,000 baht a year.
According to the agent, Ms Sararat told her she wanted insurance benefits amounting to 7 million to go to a beneficiary she claimed was an adopted daughter, and said she had no problem paying the high premium.
When there was no further progress in issuing the insurance policy she had tried to contact Sutthisak, but Ms Sararat refused to allow her to talk with him, saying they had a quarrel over money.
She only later learned that Sutthisak had died and Ms Sararat was accused of serial murders. The insurance package was never signed, she added.
Sararat Rangsiwuthaporn, dubbed Aem Cyanide, is taken to the Criminal Court on April 26. (Photo supplied)