Disgraced ex-police chief of Saudi jewels case fame dies

Disgraced ex-police chief of Saudi jewels case fame dies

Chalor Kerdthes, the ex-police commissioner convicted of murder in connection with the high-profile Saudi royal jewellery theft case almost three decades ago, died on Friday at the age of 85.

He died at Maharaj Hospital in Nakhon Ratchasima of heart failure. Born on Aug 28, 1938 in Bangkok, Chalor was the child of Lt Col Chaem and Thongkum Kedthes.

A graduate of the 15th class of the Royal Police Cadet Academy, after rising through the ranks he was promoted to deputy commander of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), commander of Phitsanulok provincial police, and Royal Thai Police Department chief. He was also a national football team manager and the chairman of the National Football Association.

He first rose to prominence when he took part in "The Blue Diamond Affair", the name given to the 1989 stolen Saudi jewellery case. He and seven other people were charged in 1993 with malfeasance and conspiracy to steal the missing Saudi royal jewels; and with abuse of authority, after being implicated in the abduction of gems trader Santi Srithanakhan and the abduction and murder of Santi's wife and son.

In 2006, the Appeals Court sentenced him to death, after the Criminal Court earlier sentenced him to life. He also lost his police rank. The sentence was reduced to life imprisonment after he received a royal pardon in 2010, cut to 50 years in 2011. He was released from jail in 2013 after his sentence suspended due to his paralysis.

Chalor was married to Surang Phonlasup, and they had three children. His funeral rite is being held at Subthawee Dhammaram Monastery in Nakhon Ratchasima's Wang Namkhieo district until Dec 2.

Chalor: Granted a pardon

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