A police doctor suspected of killing at least four people and burying their bodies on his property in Phetchaburi was arrested yesterday and taken for interrogation at the provincial police headquarters.
Pol Col Supat Laohawattana, a doctor at the Police General Hospital, has been accused of killing a local couple he reportedly argued with several years ago.
Phetchaburi Court approved a warrant for the arrest of Supat and his wife for illegal detention of the couple, who went missing three years ago, and possessing stolen items. Samart Noomjui and Orasa Kerdsap, both 27, went missing along with a Toyota pickup in June 2009, after reportedly having an argument with Supat. The couple's truck was found on September 15 at a Nonthaburi house linked to Supat, leading to the discovery of skeletal remains of three bodies on Supat’s property in Phetchaburi’s Tha Yang district.
A Burmese man called Kala who allegedly worked for the doctor for many years also accused Supat of torturing him and forcing him to bury other workers, from Myanmar. He told police the other workers were forced to swallow pesticide.
Tha Mai Ruak police superintendent Pol Col Wichai Pokpong said yesterday Supat and wife Wisala Chanbancha were wanted for illegal detention and possessing the missing couple’s truck. Police were inspecting 40 guns and home-made bullets found at the home, reportedly used for hunting, to see if they could also be charged for making ammunition without permission.
Dr Busarin Supakomolnan, of Tha Yang Hospital, said the third skeleton had a bullet-like hole in the back of head, but they couldn’t yet confirm if the person died from a gunshot or the victim’s sex.
Meanwhile, an informed source yesterday reported the Institute of Forensic Medicine doctor initially identified the first skeleton, found buried near the doctor’s house, as a male aged about 30. The second and third bodies found on the same property last week had yet to arrive the institute. After the bones were checked for sex, age, assault traces, they would be submitted to DNA tests, to compare with the couple’s parents and daughter.
Hospital director Jongjet Aojenpong said Supat was on leave until Sept 30, which was his last day at work as he had asked for early retirement. After, police charge the doctor, the hospital would set a disciplinary committee to probe his activities.
Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith said the DSI had not picked up the case but DSI officials went to observe police work due to a request by Samart’s father Sawang Noomjui. He said the case involved a senior police officer, hence the relatives were afraid police might “have difficulty” probing it.
Tharit said if the police probe went well, it should be left with them because the case involved murder, and did not fit the DSI’s special case list. But the relatives could still file a request for the Special Case Committee to consider picking it up.