Fugitive given life sentence in absentia
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Fugitive given life sentence in absentia

Verdict linked to 2019 restaurant shooting

High-profile fugitive Chaowalit Thongduang, alias "Sia Paeng Nanod", was on Monday sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for attempted murder.

The conviction stemmed from a shooting at a restaurant in tambon Prang Moo of Muang district, Phatthalung, on Sept 9, 2019.

He was charged with colluding with four others to try and murder a court assistant at the restaurant. All five were handed life terms by the court.

The court also convicted them for carrying firearms in public, resisting authorities, assaulting state officials and helping others escape legal punishment.

Sub-Lt Chatchawal Bamroongwong, Chaowalit's lawyer, said he was not certain whether his client would appeal. If he decided to do so, he would need to file the appeal with the court in person.

He said he would continue as Chaowalit's lawyer, but added he had not met or heard from Chaowalit for some time.

One report suggested Chaowalit may have fled, possibly to Indonesia. The report says he left Thailand via Satun's La Ngu district in a speedboat.

Chaowalit: Has evaded capture

Chaowalit, who was serving time for another attempted murder and faced multiple other charges, has remained at large since fleeing from Maharaj Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital on Oct 22, where he was taken for dental treatment.

He fled into the Banthad mountain range, which stretches across Phatthalung, Trang, and Satun provinces.

Despite a massive manhunt, he has managed to evade capture.

He also released video clips in which he claimed he was unfairly treated and complained he was the only person sentenced despite numerous other suspects being involved.

He also claimed his application for bail had not been handled fairly.

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