6 June 2024

Former Kaeng Krachan national park chief Chaiwat Limlikhit-akson has been ordered transferred, from the Conservation Area Management Office in Thailand’s north-eastern province of Ubon Ratchathani to the southern border province of Pattani, to assist in forest protection work.

Mr. Chatuporn Burutpat, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said today that the ministry wants someone like Chaiwat, who is tough and has considerable experience in suppression work, to assist in Pattani to protect forests and wildlife.

Chaiwat will assume his new role as director of the Pattani Office of Natural Resources and Environment, which is equivalent to the post in Ubon Ratchathani.

Meanwhile, officials of the Department of Special Investigation today submitted a formal request, to the Criminal Court for Corruption Cases, to revoke the bail of Chaiwat and three other suspects charged by the DSI for alleged involvement in the disappearance and murder of Karen communist rights activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen about five years ago.

DSI deputy spokesman Pol Maj Woranan Srilum told the media that Chaiwat has refused to testify to DSI officials in charge of the case, but did speak to the media about the case.

Such conduct by Chaiwat could constitute tampering with evidence, which may pose an obstacle to the investigation of Billy’s case by DSI officials, said Woranan.

In the request submitted to the court, the DSI said that, if the bail for Chaiwat and his three men could not be revoked, it wants the court to set new bail conditions to include a ban on the suspects talking to the media, providing information about the case via social media and a ban on them entering Kaeng Krachan national park.

Woranan said it up to the court whether to revoke bail for just Chaiwat or for all four of suspects, as the former park chief was the only person who had talked to the media.

The court has scheduled to decide on the DSI’s request on November 25th.