Thai cabby, ex-wife jailed for murder of Japanese man

PHOTO: The Nation

THE CRIMINAL COURT yesterday sentenced 49-year-old cabbie Somchai Kaewbangyang life in prison and sentenced his former wife Pornchanok Chaiyapa, also 49, to 20 years in jail over the 2014 murder of her 79-year-old Japanese companion.

The victim's dismembered remains, identified as that of Japanese teacher Yoshinori Shimato, were found in a Samut Prakan canal.

The court also ordered Somchai to pay Bt45,390 and Pornchanok Bt720,000 to the victim's son to make up for what they had stolen from the victim.

The court initially sentenced Somchai to death, as it believed he killed Shimato in a jealous fit, dismembered and disposed the body to conceal his crime, as well as stole the victim's valuables. The court also initially sentenced Pornchanok to 48 years in jail for playing a part in concealing the body and stealing from the victim.

Pornchanok was charged with theft because she made ATM withdrawals worth Bt720,000 from the victim's bank accounts.

However, the couple's sentences were halved due to their confessions and Pornchanok's term was further reduced from 24 years to 20 years according to Thai law.

Somchai's lawyer Nitirat Wang-omsab, meanwhile, said he was satisfied with the ruling though he would consult with his client as to whether he should appeal.

Pornchanok's lawyer Anusorn Rungreung said he and his client were also satisfied with the sentence and would not appeal, though he added, they would later apply for a pardon.

However, Anusorn said he believes the public prosecutor might appeal Pornchanok's sentence.

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