BANGKOK: National Police Commissioner Pol General Chaktip Chaijinda said yesterday that the alleged mastermind in the Krabi massacre was not following orders.
At this point, there is no evidence that suggests Bang Fath might have received an order from someone else, he said.
Bang Fath or Surifath Bannopwongsakul, 41, is the alleged mastermind behind the murders of Krabi village head Worayuth Sunglung and seven of his family members on July 10.
Bang Fath had a serious dispute with Worayuth after he failed to return land-title deeds to the latter. These deeds were initially submitted as collateral. But even after Worayuth repaid the debts, Bang Fath did not return the deeds, Chaktip said.
The two men made threats against each other over this dispute. Due to the threats made by Worayuth, Bang Fath had to move away from his hometown and faced trouble collecting repayments from his other local debtors.
Bang Fath then planned to kill Worayuth. Two previous attempts failed, the national police chief said. He added that Bang Fath allegedly planned a third attempt on Worayuths life with Komsan Wiangnon, 41.
The six other alleged accomplices were- Chalita Sangchote, 41, Prajak Boontoy, 36, Abdulloh Doloh, 30, Tawatchai Boonkong, 37, Arun Thongkham, 29, and Thanachai Jamnong, 41. Chalita is the only alleged female accomplice.
Chaktip spoke after he led the team to take custody of the suspects from the military.
About 100 locals gathered at the Muang Police Station to watch the eight suspects when they arrived amid tight security.
All eight suspects wore yellow neckerchiefs so security officials could easily notice them in the event they were mobbed. Officials also provided the suspects with bullet-proof vests.
Many of the spectators were relatives of Worayuth.
Bang Fath appeared calm as the military handed him over to the Muang Krabi Police Station. The rest of the suspects looked stressed.
Police later took all the suspects to a local court to ask for permission to detain them for 12 days pending further investigation. In a related development, a judicial official in Krabi has lately revealed that Worayuth was not the only victim cheated out of land-title deeds.
Anyarat Benhaphan, an official at the Krabis Justice office, revealed on Thursday that her office had received a report that more than 10 victims were duped into transferring the ownership of their land plots to him, she said.
Some of the complainants are Bang Faths blood relatives.
Dang Samdang, an uncle of Bang Fath, said that he was about to lose his land because of his younger relative.
He took both my money and my land plot, the 66-year-old man said.