6 June 2024

The Criminal Court for Corruption Cases has rejected a request, from the Department of Special Investigation, to withdraw the bail of former Kaeng Krachan park chief Chaiwat Limlikhit-akson and three other suspects, allegedly involved in the murder of Karen community rights activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen about five years ago.

In the request, DSI officials told the court that Mr. Chaiwat, who was recently transferred to assist in suppression of illegal logging in Pattani province, had given interviews to the media on different occasions, accusing the DSI of falsifying evidence against the four suspects.

Chaiwat also reportedly said the four would visit Kaeng Krachan national park, to make a vow to the spirits there, in a way which might cause confusion among some potential prosecution witnesses.

The former park chief, however, said that he merely expressed his views about the case to the media in good faith and had no intention to visit the park.  He also claimed that he had no authority in the park.

The court ruled that there is no valid reason to revoke the bail and that there were no indications that the suspects would tamper with the evidence.

After the court ruling, Chaiwat told the media that he and the three other suspects will, from now on, not talk to the media and will not return to Kaeng Krachan national park.