23 May 2024

Former deputy commerce minister Banyin Tangpakorn, and five other individuals, were indicted today in connection with the abduction and murder of the brother of a senior judge handling a case against Banyin.

Nine charges, including premediated murder, abduction, illegal detention, coercion and concealment of evidence were filed against Banyin, former long-time MP for Nakhon Sawan, and six accomplices, including Manat Taptim, Narongsak Pomchan, Chartchai Menkul, Prachawit Srithongsuk and Thongchai Vajeesatja.

They are accused of abducting Mr. Veerachai Sakuntaprasert, the elder brother of Ms. Panida, a senior judge at the Bangkok South Criminal Court, who presided over the trial of Banyin, Ms. Kanthana (Namtarn) Sivathanaphol, Ms. Arucha (Porn Khao) Wachirakunthon and her mother, Ms. Srithara Promma. All five defendants were charged with falsifying official documents and using them to transfer about 300 million baht in shares to Ms. Srithara, the mother of Ms. Pornkhao, who allegedly had intimate relationship with Banyin.

Banyin was accused of orchestrating the abduction of Mr. Veerachai, to hold him hostage in the hope of persuading Ms. Panida to acquit him.

The senior judge, however, would not comply and, in March, the Bangkok South Criminal Court sentenced Banyin to eight years and Ms. Pornkhao and Ms. Namtarn, to four years each. Ms. Srithara was acquitted because the court believed that she knew nothing about the illegal activities.

Mr. Chuwong, a wealthy contractor, died in a car accident under suspicious circumstances, as he was travelling in a vehicle being driven by Banyin through a Bangkok suburb in 2015.

Mr. Prayuth Petkong, deputy spokesman for the Office of the Attorney-General, said today that Ms. Panida is a complainant in the multiple charges against Banyin and five other defendants.

Banyin, he said, is facing an additional charge of impersonating a police officer when he and the other accomplices kidnapped Mr. Veerachai, whose body was dumped in the Chao Phraya River in Nakhon Sawan.