Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Widow says husband's murder was politically driven

The wife of a murdered aide of a former Democrat Party election candidate has insisted her husband's killing was politically motivated and urged police not to reach the conclusion his death was a result of personal conflicts.
Natthathai Khruangsai, widow of Chutidet Suwannakerd, a former Democrat Party election candidate’s aide, and their daughter, Nong Taengmo, at a press conference held yesterday. Mrs Natthathai strongly believes that the murder of her husband was politically motivated.
Widow Natthathai Khruangsai, 21, told a press conference yesterday that Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung was wrong to suggest her husband, Chutidet Suwannakerd, 38, was killed over a personal issue.
"I can assure you his death was politically driven," she said in tears.
Mrs Natthathai dismissed suggestions by the police that her husband's death might have something to do with a conflict he had had with a chief of military staff whose name had the initial "B".
She conceded Chutidet and the chief of military staff had been embroiled in a dispute, but she said that was three years ago and they had since made up.
The chief of military staff had even called Chutidet to offer him financial assistance in a district council seat he was running for, she said, making it highly improbable that the officer wanted her husband dead.
The widow also discounted the police's theory that her husband was killed over his amulet trading business.
She said he only had a very small amulet stall and it was legally registered.
The real motive behind his killing was the fact that he knew a lot of information about illegal businesses in Don Muang district, she said.
Chutidet had told Tankhun Jitt-itsara, the Democrat Party candidate for Don Muang district in the July 3 general election, secrets after he had switched sides to work with him, she said.
Mrs Natthathai said she had no confidence in the way police were handling her husband's murder investigation.
Mr Tankhun confirmed yesterday that Chutidet had given him information about illegal businesses in the district including hidden casinos, sports betting shops and underground lotteries.
His revelations had let to crackdowns on the operations and the businesses _ which were allegedly linked to certain politicians and influential figures _ would have lost millions of baht, Mr Tankhun said.
He said he had obtained in-depth information about people behind the killing of Chutidet.
A man with an initial "W" who had become the right-hand man of a politician with the initial "K" know about the killing, he said. Chutidet used to be a close aide of the politician.
"W" is an influential figure in underground businesses in Don Muang who had had his men hire a team of hitmen from Sukhothai, Mr Tankhun said.
"W" had gone into hiding with a very influential illegal casino owner in Bangkok since Saturday's killing, he said.
Pol Col Charoen Srisalak, a deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Division 2, however, said the police team strongly believed personal conflicts were the most likely motives for the murder and the investigators were mainly focusing on this line of inquiry.