NAKHON SAWAN: The investigation into the former MP for Nakhon Sawan focuses on the disappearance of the elder brother of the judge who was trying a case against him linked to a ฿300 million share fraud linked with construction tycoon Chuwong sae Tang whose death in a car accident in 2015 led to a charge of premeditated murder against the former politician. Police believe that Judge Panida Sakunprasert’s brother was murdered in the last few weeks and his body disposed of after she alerted the police to the threat made sometime after February 4th when Veerachai Sakunprasert was abducted by several men near the court buildings in Bangkok.

On Sunday, a huge police operation directed at up to 21 locations saw three individuals arrested by the Crime Suppression Division of the police including former deputy commerce minister Police Lieutenant Colonel Banyin Tangpakorn. 

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Former People’s Power Party MP for Nakhon Sawan and deputy minister for Commerce, Lieutenant Colonel Banyin Tangpakorn, was arrested by heavily armed Crime Suppression Division police on Sunday linked with what police suspect was the abduction and murder of a judge’s brother trying a case against him for fraud and scheduled to deliver a verdict on March 20th next at Bangkok South Criminal Court.

A former Thai deputy commerce minister was arrested in a morning swoop on Sunday by a heavily armed Crime Suppression Division police unit as part of an investigation into what is believed to be the abduction and murder of an older brother of a judge attached the Bangkok South Criminal Court.

The former People’s Power Party MP from Nakhon Sawan, Police Lieutenant Colonel Banyin Tangpakorn, who served under Premiers  Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat with the now-defunct People’s Power Party, was also linked with the death of construction tycoon Chuwong sae Tang in 2015 in what police suspect was a staged car accident.

Police officers subsequently were reported to be looking into the 1991 death of the former deputy minister’s wife who was killed in a similar sort of accident in Bangkok in 1991.

Two other men also arrested on Sunday

The operation that led to the arrest of Police Lieutenant Colonel Banyin on Sunday also involved the arrest of two other men said to be a 67-year-old Mr Manas and a 49-year-old Mr Narongsak.

There are unconfirmed reports that one of the arrested men has already confessed to the abduction of the judge’s brother, his murder and the subsequent disposal of his body.

Judge received a threatening phone call telling her to dismiss the case against Lieutenant Colonel Banyin Tangpakorn or lose her brother 

The current alleged outrage began when Bangkok South Criminal Court Judge Panida Sakunprasert, received a threatening phone call sometime after the evening of February 4th this month.

The judge was told that her brother, Veerachai Sakunprasert, had been kidnapped and that to get him back alive, she would be required to dismiss the case she was working on and in which she was due to give a verdict on Friday, March 20th.

Police called in and identified suspicious men loitering near the court building on February 4th

It is believed that the judge’s brother was abducted by several men observed on CCTV in the court’s precincts around 5.30 pm on February 4th.

They are believed to have taken the judge’s brother to the Takhli district of Nakhon Sawan where the unfortunate man was later murdered, his body dismembered and burned.

His remains were later tossed in the Chao Phraya River.

National Police Chief has flown to Nakhon Sawan

Thailand’s National Police Chief General Chakthip Chaijinda has flown to Nakhon Sawan to investigate the evidence linked with the case and attend the key crime scenes.

A diving operation is currently underway to locate the dismembered body parts.

Statement from the secretary-General of the Court of Justice – ‘unprecedented in the Court of Justice’

This shocking crime and action against the family of a sitting judge have led to statement from the Secretary-General of the Court of Justice, Sarawut Benjakul: ‘The abduction of a hostage to affect the court ruling is serious and is unprecedented in the Court of Justice,’ Mr Sarawut said. ‘Judge Panida is under the protection of the police and court marshals,’ he assured the public.

The phone call was recorded

It is understood that the conversation in which the judge was threatened was recorded and later made available to police.

The senior court official said that the preparators had been observed in the court’s precincts one hour before the abduction of Mr Veerachai took place.  

In the course of Sunday’s arrests, it is understood that CSD police also raided and searched 19 locations in Nakhon Sawan province and specifically the Takhli district as well as two in Bangkok.

Case before the courts was one of fraud linked with the transfer of ฿300 million from a construction tycoon believed to have been murdered

The case that Judge Panida Sakunprasert was hearing concerns that illegal transfer of up to ฿300 million in shares from a billionaire construction tycoon, Chuwong sae Tang, whose death in 2015 also led to a charge of premeditated murder against the former deputy minister.

It is reported that the suspect may have been in the car at the time the alleged accident occurred.

The case being heard by the court involved fraud and the submission of false documents in connection with the share transfer which enriched the former deputy minister.

Police also probed the 1991 death of the suspect’s wife

The 2015 incident and what officers believed to have been a murder, led police to look at the death of Lieutenant Colonel Banyin’s wife in 1991, again in a car accident, where a car hit a tree and the ex-minister’s wife at the time was found dead.

Lieutenant Colonel Banyin was also in the car. In 1991, he was serving as a police inspector of the traffic division in Bangkok where the accident occurred.

Former minister proclaims his innocence

The former deputy minister was taken to the Central Investigation Bureau in Bangkok on Sunday which oversees the Crime Suppression Division of the police.

When questioned by the press as he was escorted into the building by heavily armed policemen, Lieutenant Colonel Banyin replied: ‘ I still do not know what this is all about.’

His daughter Bussaya, pursued the transfer of her father to Bangkok and told the media that she expects her father to obtain justice.

She said that she is sure that this is part of an elaborate attempt to frame her father by his enemies.

Further reading:

MP transferred to Bang Kwang prison and placed on death row as court orders him to resign his seat

Pheu Thai MP sentenced to death for the murder of a man he believed had an affair with his wife in Khon Kaen