DSI to take a month deciding whether to challenge prosecutor on Billy’s case

The Department of Special Investigation will consider, within a month, whether to challenge the prosecutors’ decision to drop all but one of the charges against former Kaeng Krachan national park officials in connection with the disappearance and suspected murder of Karen rights activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen.

At a news conference, held after the Office of Special Cases of the Office of the Attorney-General clarified the reason for its decision, DSI deputy spokesman and director of Special Cases Centre, Pol Maj Woranan Srilum, said that the prosecutors dropped all the major charges, without any recommendation that the DSI to find more evidence to back its case.

This means that, if the DSI decides to challenge the prosecutors’ ruling to the attorney-general, it would have to rely on the existing evidence and could not seek new evidence.

The DSI has questioned a total of 131 witnesses and the case was contained in about 17 files.

Meanwhile, Dr. Worawi Waiyawut, director of the Genetic Substances Division of the Central Forensic Science Institute, told the news conference that the Mitochondrial-DNA method, employed in testing the bone fragments found in the burned oil drum and which are believed to belong to Billy, is an internationally recognized method to determine the lineage between a mother and her children.

The Mitochondrial-DNA from the bone fragments was found to match samples of Billy’s mother, but this could not confirm that the bone fragments belonged to the missing Karen and other evidence would be needed, said the doctor.

Pol Lt-Col Shane Kanchanapat, director of the Special Operations Cases of the DSI, said that DSI officials have interviewed all Billy’s relatives and were told that all his siblings have died and been cremated in accordance with Karen tradition, except Billy who has disappeared.

The matching of the DNA in the bone fragments to Billy’s mother leads the DSI to believe that they belong to Billy, he said.


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