Mor Yong 'alive and well'

Mor Yong 'alive and well'

Mr Suriyan is taken to Bangkok Military Court on Wednesday as investigators sought the first round of his detention. (Photo by Krit Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)
Mr Suriyan is taken to Bangkok Military Court on Wednesday as investigators sought the first round of his detention. (Photo by Krit Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)

Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya has confirmed Suriyan Sucharitpolwong is alive and well, dismissing rumours about his demise.

Mr Suriyan, a well-known fortune-teller also known as Mor Yong, and two other suspects — Jirawong Watthanathewasilp, his adviser, and Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapa — were arrested on lese majeste charge last week.

Since lese majeste is a national-security offence, the case comes under the jurisdiction of the military court. The three suspects are detained at the temporary prison at the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok.

Pol Maj Prakrom was found hanging in his cell with a shirt around his neck on Friday and died shortly after at the Corrections Department's hospital, prompting rumours about the fate of the other two suspects.

Gen Paiboon on Monday dismissed the rumours. "Mor Yong's fine. I don't understand what caused these rumours."

He added as Mr Suriyan's blood pressure was high, he was sent to the Corrections Department's hospital.

But since the facility lacked some equipment, Mr Suriyan was then sent to another hospital for a thorough CT scan.

"He's alive and well. We were told he even asked to have rice porridge for breakfast this morning," Gen Paiboon said.

Vitaya Suriyawong, director-general of the Corrections Department, added Mr Suriyan was sent for a CT scan on Thursday after it appeared his mouth was twisted and his jaws locked.

"The results, however, showed he was normal so he was sent back to prison. We suspect he might have faked the symptoms as it was the second day of his detention," Mr Vitaya said.

Before his arrest, Mr Suriyan 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.

As for the autopsy on Prakrom, Gen Paiboon said a post-mortem could be done in either of two ways: sending the body to the police Institute of Forensic Medicine, or inviting a panel to perform a post-mortem at the Corrections Department's hospital.

The department had chosen the latter method and a committee comprising a public attorney, police officer, administrative official and forensic doctor, had already issued a death certificate, he said.

"So the case is now closed. There's no need to send the body to the Institute of Forensic Medicine. His family has already received the body," he added, confirming police reports that they had not received the body.

Mr Vitaya added the cause of Prakrom's death was suffocation and his relatives arrived to fetch his body at 8.30am on Monday.

On calls by human rights activists to shut down the temporary prison in the military compound, Gen Paiboon said the prison was used to detain suspects in the Ratchaprasong bombings case.

"There has been no problem. If there were any, we would know now. The facility operates under the same regulations as other prisons. We should look instead whether there are any rights violation in the prisons.

"We need to keep the prison to expedite investigations. As we all see, high-profile cases have progressed very quickly. Let's not look only at human rights. National interest should also be taken into consideration," Gen Paiboon said.

On a proposal that closed-circuit cameras be installed in the prison, Gen Paiboon said they might violate inmates' rights since the temporary prison was not a high-security zone where inmates' moves had to be closely watched.

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