Charges sought in 36 cyanide misuse cases
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Charges sought in 36 cyanide misuse cases

Serial killings prompt look at other breaches of laws regulating use of poisonous chemical

Police take custody of suspected serial killer Sararat
Police take custody of suspected serial killer Sararat "Aem Cyanide" Rangsiwuthaporn on April 26. (Photo supplied)

The Department of Industrial Works has asked police to take legal action against 36 people including the accused serial killer whose crimes triggered a closer look at the use and misuse of cyanide.

Supakit Boonsiri, the deputy director-general of the department, filed the request with the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) on Wednesday.

The 36 people comprise an importer of cyanide, four dealers of the chemical and 31 users of the poisonous substance including Sararat “Aem Cyanide” Rangsiwuthaporn, who was indicted last month on one count of murder.

Prosecutors are continuing to review police evidence in 13 other poisoning deaths and one attempted murder and more indictments are expected to follow.

Among those who came to public attention not long after Ms Sararat’s arrest in late April was actress Preechaya “Ice” Pongthananikorn, who admitted having bought cyanide online to repel monitor lizards that had been threatening her dogs.

Police subsequently questioned the celebrity and found nothing criminal about her action, deputy national police chief Surachate Hakparn said at the time.

As for other cases involving cyanide, the police Crime Suppression Division, under the CIB, is currently looking into several charges that include the illegal possession of a hazardous substance.

Anyone suspected of improper or illegal use of the chemical will be called in to acknowledge the charges, said Pol Col Anek Taosuparp, deputy commander of the division.

Ms Sararat, 36, is said to be facing more than 75 charges including premeditated murder, attempted murder, theft causing death, and forgery.

Fourteen victims died and one survived a series of incidents that spanned eight years from 2015 to 2023. Pol Gen Surachate called the case historic based on the number of dead victims by a single murderer.

The 15 cases were spread over seven provinces — Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon, Kanchanaburi, Phetchaburi, Ratchaburi, Udon Thani and Mukdahan.

The investigation was expanded following the arrest of the suspect on April 25 in connection with the death of Siriporn “Koy” Khanwong, 32.

Siriporn collapsed and died on the banks of the Mae Klong River in Ban Pong district of Ratchaburi, where she had just released fish for merit-making on April 14 with Ms Sararat. Cyanide was found in the victim’s blood.

Police found Ms Sararat to have been a heavy online gambler. She allegedly killed her victims to steal their money or to free herself from the debts she owed them.

Police believed she mixed cyanide in the victims’ food — except in the Mukdahan case in which she allegedly sent “diet pills” to her victim, Sawittree Budsrirak, 40, who died in 2020.

Actress Preechaya “Ice” Pongthananikorn was caught up in a media feeding frenzy earlier this year when it was learned that she had bought cyanide online to repel monitor lizards that had been threatening her dog. Police later cleared her of any criminal conduct.

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