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Surachai aides’ killings may be linked to security matters: Srivara

Jan 24. 2019
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By THE NATION

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THE BRUTAL deaths of two anti-monarchy activists, whose bodies were found in the Mekong River recently, could be linked to security matters, but they were not related to politics, Deputy National Police Commissioner Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said.

Srivara instructed Nakhon Phanom police Pol Captain Chom Churat to bring the case to him on Thursday for review. He said it was unclear if the killings had taken place in Thai territory, he said. 

“I have ordered further investigations into the cases since the two deaths were not caused by natural causes,” Srivara told reporters.

Former communist insurgent Surachai “Saedan” Danwattana-nusorn and his “aides” Chatcharn “Phoochana” Bubphawan and Kraidej “Kasalong” Luelert were apparently living in self-imposed exile in Laos when they went missing in December. 

The bodies of Surachai’s aides were found on December 26 and 27 in the Mekong River, which borders the two countries. Their hands and feet were bound, their faces beaten to a pulp and their organs removed and body cavities stuffed with concrete before the bodies were flung into the river.

Primary examination indicates that this kind of brutal murder was uncommon in Thailand, Srivara said. Given the fact that the Phoochana and Kasalong were allegedly involved in the possession of war weapons, their deaths might be related to security matters, not politics, Srivara said, but declined to elaborate on the difference. 

The police and military had earlier denied any role in the death of the two, as they had lived in exile in a neighbouring country since the military coup in 2014. There was no intelligence report on Surachai’s fate, according to Srivara.

The bodies of his aides were brought to the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the Police Hospital in the capital. The bodies will be handed over to their relatives only after the re-examination process is finished, another police officer said.

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