Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has finally pressed six charges against former Kaeng Krachan National Park chief, Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn. Including premeditated murder and concealing the body of Karen activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen.
DSI officials charged Mr Chaiwat and three others with premeditated murder; unlawful detention; physical assault; robbery; body concealment and malfeasance.
The DSI case has drawn global attention because Billy was a human rights activist who did not have any enemies. The decision to press charges shows the international community that the Thai justice system meets international standards. It gives confidence to people working in the area of human rights Surapong Kongchanthuk, a lawyer for Porlajee’s wife, said
Pol Lt Col Shane Kanchanapach, head of the DSI’s Bureau of Regional Operations, said the case reports were to be delivered to the Attorney-General yesterday. As a result public prosecutors will have 40 days to bring about an indictment, the Bangkok Post reports. “The DSI has done its best in gathering witnesses and evidence in the case,” he said.
Furthermore, Pinnapa Prueksapan, Porlajee’s wife, has said she was satisfied with the DSI’s casework. Saying it showed that the justice system actually does work. She said the Justice Ministry was taking good care of her, and she had received no threats.
Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen disappeared in April 2014. He was helping his relatives sue Mr Chaiwat over the torching of their bamboo huts and rice barns. Consequently during a series of forest evictions in Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi province.
Billy was last seen alive on April 17, 2014, after Mr Chaiwat and officials under him arrested him. tThe Karen activist was arrested for allegedly collecting wild honey in a protected forest.
Mr Chaiwat and three others surrendered to the DSI last month. They denied all charges.