Return of Sia Pang to Nakhon Si Thammarat. He was captured in Bali last week. Previously, there was controversy over his conviction and the chaos of last year’s manhunt in Phatthalung province. From a luxury private jet to a fortress prisoner. After 7 months on the run, Thailand’s most controversial convict is back in custody.

The escaped prisoner who made national headlines in Thailand is finally back in custody in Nakhon Si Thammarat province. On Tuesday, a luxury private jet flew from Jakarta repatriating the wanted man. Later, it landed at the province’s Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport with fugitive Chaowalit Thongduang, or Sia Pang Na Node, aboard. Mr Chaowalit was arrested in Bali last week after fighting with a girlfriend. At length, it brought an end to a 7-month manhunt for the controversial convict. Previously, Sia Pang had claimed to be the victim of police and prosecutorial corruption while on the run.

(Insert top) Indonesian security officers place Chaowalit Thongduang or Sia Pang Na Node in his seat on the private jet (bottom) on Tuesday. (Right centre) The fugitive from Thai justice was met at Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport with a massive security escort as arrest warrants and charges were processed against him before his return to prison.

Thailand’s most famous fugitive flew into Nakhon Si Thammarat International Airport on Wednesday evening. Chaowalit Thongduang was earlier placed securely on the Indonesian Super Jet private aircraft by Indonesian security services.

Earlier in the day, Mr Chaowalit, or Sia Pang Na Node, was taken from Soekarno-Hatta Airport Police Station in Jakarta. Beforehand, medical officers conducted a physical checkup before he was placed on the luxury private jet.

Afterwards, his Indonesian guards sat him down in the executive cabin and said their goodbyes.

Fight with an Indonesian mistress led to Sia Pang’s capture in Bali last week. The news quickly reached Bangkok and Minister of Justice Thawee Sodsong 

The fugitive prison escapee was arrested by Indonesian police last week in Bali. Before that, he had decided to take a holiday after spending months lying low in a secure location. Following this, he had taken up with an Indonesian mistress with whom he quarrelled at an apartment complex.

In short, Mr Chaowalit struck the woman, who called the police. In addition, a neighbour within the complex simultaneously summoned the Polri.

News of the capture of Chaowalit Thongduang, or Sia Pang Na Node, spread like wildfire. At length, officials in Bangkok, within the police and Ministry of Justice, confirmed it was the man they wanted.

Escaped from hospital in Nakhon Si Thammarat on October 22nd and managed to evade authorities for seven months. He claims to have been in 3-4 countries

Sia Pang had escaped from Maharaj Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital in October 2023 while there on a dental visit. Afterwards, he escaped to the mountains of Phatthalung province.

Subsequently, despite a dangerous armed encounter with police and troops, he managed to escape from Thailand by boat.

On Sunday, the fugitive met Minister of Justice Thawee Sodsong in what was a surprisingly cordial meeting. Sia Node told the minister that he had been to 3-4 countries since his escape and was amazed that Thai law enforcement had never given up the chase.

At length, he had previously indicated by phone from Indonesia that he was prepared to return home.

While on the run, the fugitive aired grievances by claiming injustice.

Certainly, at one point, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin ordered a probe into the claims.

Senior police closed ranks last year and denied claims of injustice and corruption made by the on-the-run fugitive. Sia Pang was serving a 20-year sentence

However, senior police officials in the South came forward to support the officers who had originally arrested and prosecuted Sia Pang.

Mr Chaowalit was convicted in 2019 of kidnapping and attempted murder. Following this, he was sentenced to 20 years and 6 months.

Defending the thin blue line: Ex-Phatthalung Chief challenges fugitive Sia’s corruption claims
Sia Pang Na Node, a prisoner’s fight for justice against a corrupt legal system while on the run

Furthermore, he now faces additional charges of escaping from custody, leaving the country without permission, and attempted murder related to his encounter with police and troops in Phatthalung while on the run.

Certainly, he has denied such claims, explaining that he deliberately tried to avoid shedding blood during his dash for freedom.

The returned convict has a particularly strong following in southern Thailand. At length, many locals in the provinces there believe his claims of corruption and injustice.

Massive security in Nakhon Si Thammarat on Tuesday including elite armed troops supporting police and checkpoints throughout the centre of the municipality

Certainly, this may explain the heightened security surrounding Nakhon Si Thammarat International Airport on Tuesday when the chartered jet touched down. Present at the airport were the Commander of Provincial Police Region 8 and Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Police.

At the same time, checkpoints across Nakhon Si Thammarat were set up by security services. At all points, including the airport and dealing with the prisoner, elite armed troops were deployed in support.

After the plane touched down at 5:38 pm, the prisoner was taken to a special lounge at the airport. There, warrants for his arrest were executed while Immigration Bureau officials processed the appropriate paperwork.

Sia Pang Na Node was then transported under heavy armed guard to Nakhon Si Thammarat Police Station, where he faced police questioning on additional charges being pressed against him.

At length, he will, thereafter, be returned to Nakhon Si Thammarat Prison, where he can be assured of a stricter monitoring regime since he last was there.

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Further reading:

Defending the thin blue line: Ex-Phatthalung Chief challenges fugitive Sia’s corruption claims

Sia Pang Na Node, a prisoner’s fight for justice against a corrupt legal system while on the run

Local corruption linked to the police under the spotlight after officer’s murder in Nakhon Pathom

Golden Triangle drugs threat aired in parliament, claims of senior police officers being involved in trafficking

Corruption and border smuggling linked to the Muno blast in Narathiwat. Call for top-level probe

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