Pheu Thai Khon Kaen’s MP sentenced to death for murder of local official

A Pheu Thai MP for the northeastern province of Khon Kaen was today (Tuesday) sentenced to death by the provincial court after he was found guilty of masterminding the murder of an assistant chief of Khon Kaen provincial administration organization (PAO) six years ago.

The court ruled that there was sufficient evidence to prove that Mr. Nawath Tohcharoensook ordered the murder of 53-year-old Mr. Suchart Kotethum in front of the victim’s house in Chomphon housing estate in Muang district of Khon Kaen on May 3th, 2013.

Chomphon housing estate is where several senior and retired provincial officials reside, including the provincial governor.

The victim was shot eight times with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun and a .38 calibre revolver. He died at the scene and police suspect a love triangle as the motive behind his killing.

Four men, including two police officers, who were involved in the murder were arrested and prosecuted.  Two of the defendants, namely Pol Lt-Col Somchit Kaewprom, former deputy superintendent of Nong Rua district police, and Pol Senior Sgt-Maj Veerasak Chamnanphon of Nong Rua police station, were sentenced to life imprisonment and 37 years respective, while the remaining two defendants were acquitted by the Khon Kaen provincial court.

The Appeals Court, however, reversed the lower court’s verdict by sentencing all the four defendants to death, but commuted the sentence of all but Pol Lt-Col Somchit to life imprisonment.

The Pheu Thai MP was later apprehended and tried separately. He denied all the charges.

After the reading of the verdict, the Pheu Thai MP was escorted, by corrections officials, to the detention cell on the first floor of the provincial court building while his lawyers placed a surety to request bail for their client.

The lawyers also said they would appeal against the verdict.

Pheu Thai party’s chief legal advisor Chusak Sirinil said that Nawath still retains his MP status because the verdict is not final, even though he is incarcerated pending appeal.

Nawath made news headline on September 10th when he allegedly slapped the head of a fellow MP from Maha Sarakham province, Mr. Yutthapong Charatsathien, while his two bodyguards restrained the victim. The incident took place in the office of party leader Sompong Amornvivat at the party’s head office. Yutthapong later filed a complaint with Makkasan police.


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