CHIANG RAI – The family of 34 year-old Sornchai Sathitrakdamrong who was killed at a checkpoint in Chiang Rai province during the New Year holidays is heading to Bangkok to ask the Crimes Suppression Division to take over the murder case of Sornchai.
Mae Suai Police arrested Mr. Wutthichai Injaian a local deputy community leader as the sole suspect in the case, however after autopsy results show the bullet may not have come from the deputy community leader as police reported.
“We want to see progress in the case. We want justice,” the victim’s younger sister, Porntip Jayor, said on Wednesday.
Her brother, Sornchai, failed to stop at a checkpoint on the night of January 2 in unclear circumstances. His girlfriend, who was with him at that time, said they did not see officials at the checkpoint but officials claimed they were present.
Evidence showed that someone fired a few shots when Sornchai’s car moved away from the checkpoint, killing him at the scene. The assistant community leader still denies shooting at the vehicle, saying that he just fired into the air.
On Wednesday Mae Suai Police Station chief Col. Vicharn Churit reported to Thai media that two soldiers were present at the checkpoint, a fact not disclosed by police until pressure from the victim’s family and Villagers.
Further investigation after the autopsy found the shot wound of Sornchai showed it was from a .223 bullet, not a 9mm bullet fired from the handgun of the assistant. The two soldiers at the checkpoint both carried M16 assault rifles.
The finding prompted the police to now believe one of them fired the fatal shot that killed Sornchai.
A media report earlier that the two soldiers had reported to the Third Army commander but it’s spokesman Col Krit Khantasa denied such report.
Earlier the police inquiry officers in charge of the case agreed to slap an additional charge against Wutthichai because the dead victim’s girlfriend, Ms Sirirat Yaepieng, was traveling in the same car but escaped the bullets.
By Natthawat Laping