Korn Kanthieng met the police and answered questions for nearly five hours on Tuesday. They are investigating the alleged plot linked to former Deputy Commerce Minister Lieutenant Colonel Banyin Tangpakorn to break out of prison. The lawyer had acted for Mr Suthon Thongsiri or ‘Joe’, a man thought to be at the centre of the plot and who was bailed from Bangkok Remand Prison where he was associated with Lieutenant Colonel Banyin. Mr Korn told investigators that this was a legal job he took on from another lawyer and only worked with Mr Suthon’s family who put up the bail for his release.

The lawyer who organised bail for a suspected jailbreaker who has been linked to an alleged plot to spring former Thai junior minister  Lieutenant Colonel Banyin Tangpakorn from prison has met with senior police officers including the Head of Metropolitan Police Division One in Bangkok, to brief them on his actions and has underlined his clean hands in relation to the affair. During nearly five hours of interrogation, he told them that this was simply a normal bail application that he had undertaken when requested by a fellow legal practitioner.

Mr Korn Kanthieng fielded the media today on Tuesday both before and after meeting with senior police officers with the Criminal Suppression Division (CSD) and the Metropolitan Police in Bangkok who are investigating an alleged plot to facilitate former Deputy Commerce Minister Lieutenant Colonel Banyin Tangpakorn’s escape from the custody of the Department of Corrections. The lawyer told police he had no knowledge or links to any alleged plot and was only involved in a bail application referred to him by another lawyer during the Covid 19 crisis.

A young Thai lawyer, who has found himself at the centre of a storm over a plot to break out former Deputy Commerce Minister Lieutenant Colonel Banyin Tangpakorn from Bangkok’s Remand Prison, attended a meeting with the Crime Suppression Bureau on Tuesday in the capital.

Mr Korn Kanthieng gave a brief interview to the media outside the police headquarters as he went in to explain how his name has been linked with the affair. He had been summoned to give a formal statement on the matter and for questioning. 

The meeting was attended by Police Colonel Sonphet Noonthong and other senior officers including the deputy commander of Bangkok’s Metropolitan Police Division One.

Lawyer not apprehensive about meeting police

Before the meeting, he told the press that he was not apprehensive about meeting the police and was looking forward to providing valuable information relating to the case which had led him into the spotlight.

A massive investigation is underway after being launched when a plot was unearthed allegedly to spring the former police officer and junior minister in the short-lived Thai governments formed by the People Power Party in 2008, from prison while en route from Bangkok Remand Prison to a court sitting in the Dusit area of the city.

Mr Korn acted for suspect Mr Suthon Thongsiri alias ‘Joe’ who was bailed from Bangkok Remand Prison

Mr Suthon Thongsiri, also known as Joe, is believed to have been a key player in the plot along with others to execute the escape bid, which is also reported to have included a fallback plan to kidnap the wife of the governor of the prison as leverage to allow the release of Mr Banyin.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Banyin, who was moved on June 18th to the more secure Bang Kwang Prison, and who is reported to be held in isolation, is currently facing a number of murder charges relating to different incidents with the current trial relating to the abduction and murder of a Bangkok judge’s elder brother in February.

In May, he was sentenced to 8 years in prison for fraud and forgery.

Aware of the prison escape plot and speculation surrounding his client only from media reports

On Tuesday, the lawyer told the media posse that he was only aware of the details and speculation surrounding the case from media reports and was looking forward to being briefed by the police and also giving them the facts of the matter from his perspective.

After his meeting, at 2 pm, nearly five hours later, he again briefed the media on the case and gave some further information.

Update the media after he met with police

Mr Korn said that he had been brought into the case by another lawyer who asked him to deal with the family of Mr Suthon or ‘Joe’ before his subsequent release on bail from Bangkok Remand Prison.

He said that he had been paid ฿20,000 and only took on the job because of the extraordinarily difficult situation caused by the Covid 19 emergency and shutdown. 

He said that the family members could not handle the matter themselves.

He disclosed that the money to pay for the bail to release Mr Suthon had come from his family and that he was aware of nothing nefarious to do with the bail application.

Denies any link with Police Lieutenant Colonel Banyin or anyone connected with the ex-minister

He told reporters that he had given the facts of the matter to police and welcomed the opportunity to demonstrate his sincerity in this matter.

He pointed out that he does not know Police Lieutenant Colonel Banyin or another significant figure from Nakhon Sawan, the ex-ministers power base. He said he had never met such individuals.

Happy to cooperate with the investigation

He accepted that police had to pursue the matter and ask questions relating to the plot and was happy to cooperate with the criminal probe.

He again emphasised that he had no involvement or knowledge of any plot to launch any illegal activity associated with the high profile Lieutenant Colonel Banyin.

It was then ascertained that Mr Woraphat Tangpakorn, Banyin’s son, is to meet with the CSD led investigation team on July 2nd after postponing an appointment for July 1st.

Further reading:

Former minister, at the centre of jailbreak reports, appears in court in Bangkok under tight security

Former minister pleads not guilty to chilling abduction and murder of judge’s older brother in fraud case

Former Thai Government minister arrested – linked to kidnap and suspected murder of judge’s brother

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

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