Suspects have assets frozen

Suspects have assets frozen

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said on Thursday to expect more arrests in the case of the fortune teller and his two associates, in a new lese majeste scandal he said is similar to last year's case of ex-Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief  Pongpat Chayaphan. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said on Thursday to expect more arrests in the case of the fortune teller and his two associates, in a new lese majeste scandal he said is similar to last year's case of ex-Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief Pongpat Chayaphan. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Authorities have frozen some of the assets of the three lese majeste suspects charged on Wednesday for checks, national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said Thursday.

Some electronic devices and weapons have also been seized from them, Pol Gen Chakthip said. 

He added that the suspects' alleged lese majeste offences by citing the monarchy to obtain benefits were similar to the criminal case against former Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief Pongpat Chayaphan, whose criminal network was brought down late last year. 

Pol Gen Chakthip said police are expanding their investigation to determine whether any other people were involved in lese majeste offences. 

The three were identified as Suriyan Sucharitpolwong, a well-known fortune-teller also known as Mor Yong; Jirawong Watthanathewasilp, who is Mr Suriyan's close aide; and Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapa.

They have been charged with lese majeste offences under Section 112 of the Criminal Code and are now being detained at the Bangkok Military Court.

Pol Maj Pakrom has also been charged with possession of unlicensed weapons, according to police.

Regarding the eight CIB police officers who were transferred to inactive posts on Sunday pending a probe, Pol Gen Chakthip said the eight officers had cooperated well with investigators and they were providing useful information.

Pol Maj Prakrom, 39, won a scholarship from the Defence Ministry to further his military studies in England. After graduating, he served as a soldier at the army's Artillery Centre in Lop Buri. He was later persuaded by former police chief Pratin Santiprabhob to join the police force.

In 1999, Pol Maj Prakrom was dismissed from the police following an accusation that he forged the signature of the late Supreme Patriarch. However, prosecutors later decided not to indict him. 

On Jan 22, the Police Commission, chaired by Gen Prawit, decided to reinstate Pol Maj Prakrom to the police under the Rehabilitation Act. He was given a job at the Technology Crime Suppression Division and was transferred to be an inspector attached to the Crime Suppression Division special operations unit before he was arrested.

Mr Suriyan, 53, is from Trang. He graduated from Bangkok University's school of communication arts and obtained a master's degree from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London.

He was formerly a lecturer teaching advertising and public relations at Rangsit University as well as a guest lecturer at several other universities. But he is much better known as a fortune-teller. He was among the first telephone fortune-tellers about 20 years ago.

Before his arrest, he served as an adviser to a subcommittee responsible for holding activities for the "Bike for Mom" cycling event in August, as well as the "Bike for Dad" event scheduled for December.

Mr Jirawong, 29, is also from Trang and graduated from Naresuan University in Phitsanulok.

He has worked as Mr Suriyan's secretary for about six years and is considered to be Mr Suriyan's "right-hand man".


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