Thai cop confesses he set up killing of monk

Thai cop confesses he set up killing of monk

Officer alledges that Udon hospital boss paid him Bt300,000 (12,600) to arrange murder

POL SR Sgt-Major Charnchai Soisangwan, apprehended last week after fleeing to Laos, has alleged Ek Udon Hospital chairman Banjerd Chatphaithoon paid him Bt300,000 to arrange the murder of revered Udon Thani monk Phra Bundit Supanditto on March 1.

Charnchai also claimed he didn't know the hospital boss until former Udon Thani police chief Maj-General Boonlue Korbangyang assigned him to follow a female |doctor in relation to her alleged |inappropriate contact with Phra Bundit, who was the abbot of Wat Ban Pa Seesiad.

He said he followed the doctor for about a month and didn't see anything suspicious.

He claimed Banjerd gave him negative information about the monk and hired him to arrange to have Phra Bundit shot dead.

Charnchai said he arranged the murder for the money. But he believed his former chief Boonlue had no knowledge of the plot and he didn't tell Boonlue about Banjerd hiring him.

Charnchai said he initially paid janitor Panja Chareesaen Bt50,000 to buy a gun and kill the monk then paid him another Bt110,000 following the murder.

He also paid Bt55,000 to Bunnag Hongsakham, a driver with an |irrigation office, to serve as a lookout for the murder and advised him on an escape route.

Charnchai spoke at a press conference yesterday at the Royal Thai Police (RTP) headquarters in Bangkok, in which only he and Bunnag, the driver, were present.

National police chief General Somyos Poompanmuang affirmed that everyone involved in the murder would be punished, without exception.

Hospital chairman Banjerd has maintained his innocence and refused to take part in yesterday's conference, saying he would only testify in court. Somyos said that was Banjerd's right and the case would be forwarded to the Crime Suppression Division to ensure transparency.

Somyos said, based on the suspects' testimony, the case may have stemmed from jealousy but it had been established on solid evidence, some of which couldn't be revealed to the press at the moment.

He said it was unlikely that Boonlue, who recently commanded the special training division at the Border Patrol Police Bureau, was involved in the murder plot.

Boonlue told him that Banjerd had asked for help to arrange a subordinate to follow the doctor, he said. Subsequently, Boonlue told Charnchai to observe her, and after Banjerd kept asking Boonlue for updates, he told him to talk with Charnchai directly.

Somyos said last week's transfers of Boonlue and Udon Thani police chief Maj-General Chaiyat Saithin to the RTP's operations centre was to ensure transparency in the matter so the public had confidence in the process.

After the press conference, it was reported that Somyos signed an order reinstating Boonlue and Chaiyat to their previous positions.

And the three suspects were taken back to Udon Thani to conduct a crime re-enactment.

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