SA KAEO: An ex-cop linked to an infamous Saudi gem heist that occurred over 20 years ago has been arrested on Friday for his role in allegedly murdering a gas station owner in Sa Kaeo. The perpetrator was apprehended in a Rayong sub district as well as his wife on unspecified charges. The murder charges stem from an incident that occurred on September 30, wherein at least two armed men shot the petrol station owner to death and severely wounded his wife. More below from Bangkok Post.
Police said Pansak confessed during interrogation that he had been hired by a man identified only as Hia Thong for a six-digit sum to shoot Mr Pracha. The suspect claimed he did not open fire, but arranged for two gunmen to do the job, said Pol Col Jirabhop.
Officers said Pansak told them he had known Hia Thong since his days in the police force. Hia Thong had often lent him money and provided financial assistance when he was on the run from another criminal charge.
Pansak was earlier suspected of involvement in the 2013 murder of a businessman at the Rong Klua market in Aranyaprathet, whose body was burned beyond recognition in a forest in Prachin Buri.
But the former policeman is better known as one of the henchmen of former police commissioner Chalor Kerdthet in the 1990s. Chalor masterminded the 1994 kidnapping and murder of the wife and son of a jeweller who was believed to have had information on the whereabouts of stolen Saudi gems.
The 1989 theft of millions of dollars in jewellery from the home of a Saudi prince by a Thai servant became a bigger scandal when it was revealed that some of the jewels returned to the Saudis were fake. Some of the gems have never been found.
Chalor thought he could press jeweller Santi Srithanakhan to tell what he knew in exchange for the return of his wife and son.
Pansak was part of the kidnap team that held Santi’s wife Darawadee and eight-year-old son Seri for nearly a month in Sa Kaeo while Chalor continued to negotiate with the jeweller.
The talks went nowhere and Chalor finally demanded a ransom from Santi. The latter paid 2.5 million baht and then reported the kidnapping to the authorities.
Fearing exposure, Chalor told Pansak to “get rid of the evidence”. Pansak and two others beat Darawadee and Seri to death and left their bodies in a car.
Pansak was sentenced in 2002 to life in prison. The term was upheld on appeal in 2005 but he was released in 2012.
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