Relatives and 'fans' plan to visit Thai murder suspects in prison

PHOTO: The Nation/Asia News Network

Relatives of the prime suspect accused of killing and dismembering another woman in Khon Kaen last month said on Thursday they would visit her in prison on Friday, accompanied by her unidentified "fans".

Police also plan to take Priyanuch Nonwangchai, 24, and two other suspects, Kawita Rachada, 26, and Apiwan Satayabundit, 28, to a provincial court on Friday to apply for a second 12-day detention period.

Priyanuch became an Internet sensation after she was accused of the killing and dismemberment of Warisara Klinjui, a 22-year-old with whom the three had worked at a karaoke bar.

After the killing, she fled to Myanmar along with Kawita and Apiwan.

The three then surrendered to Myanmar police, who transferred them to Thai police on June 3 to face charges related to the gruesome crime.

Two other suspects in custody are Wasin Namprom, 22, and Jidarat Phromkhun, 21.

Priyanuch's brother Weerawat said he and relatives would visit her in prison on Friday, as the family had not been allowed to see her.

He added that he had been told that unidentified fans of Priyanuch, who has been idolised by teenage girls online in response to her extensive social media presence, had expressed a desire also to visit the prison.

Khao Suan Kwang superintendent Pol Colonel Pakphum Pissamai said investigators continued to gather evidence in the ongoing case and were waiting for DNA test results.

He said police would submit a case report along with their opinions on who should be indicted before the 84-day deadline.

His comments addressed statements that Jidarat should not be subjected to heavy penalties because she allegedly sold the victim's valuables but was not present for the murder.

Deputy Provincial Police Region 4 chief Pol Maj-General Charoenwit Siwanit said only five suspects had been identified but more arrest warrants would be issued if other accomplices were involved.

He added that four suspects, excluding Jidarat, had been charged with premeditated murder, while Jidarat had not been force to re-enact the crime.

Investigators were still investigating her role, he said, adding that she might not be indicted.

Meanwhile, Narcotics Control Board secretary-general Sirinya Sitthichai confirmed that officers were investigating Priyanuch's alleged drug trafficking activities and if they were linked to drug dealers in Tachileik town in Myanmar, where the women surrendered to authorities.

The agency was waiting for a report on that investigation, he said, adding that Priyanuch's bank account was also being scrutinised.