(12 June) Suspects
involved in the abduction and subsequent murder of controversial businessman Akeyuth Anchanbutr have
revealed in details how the extraordinary saga unfolds.
When it first emerged on 9 June that Mr. Akeyuth Anchanbutr, a self-proclaimed Yellowshirt
supporter, disappeared from his residence, conspiracy theories that he was abducted and possibly
murdered by politically-motivated assailants immediately followed, due to his longtime opposition to
Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, whose sister is currently serving as Prime Minister.
Santiparp ?Ball? Penduang, the driver of Mr. Akeyuth and the prime suspect in the case, has
previously suggested to police that his boss got off his car on the highway in Prachuab Kiri Khan
province and disappeared with the convoy carrying unidentified individuals. His statement fueled the
speculation even further.
However, Mr. Santiparp eventually changed his statements and
confessed that it was he who kidnapped Mr. Akeyuth, extorted 5 million baht from the man, and
subsequently killed him as he struggled to run away. Mr. Akeyuth′s body was found later
months. He said he wanted the money and was angered by the fact that his girlfriend had been fired
from Mr. Akeyuth′s company for embezzling the company money.
Mr. Santiparp then gathered his
friends from Phattalung, which is his home province, for the plot. 3 friends showed up in Bangkok
days before the incident for preparation. They are Mr. Chawalit Boonchoom, Mr. Tivakorn Kuethong,
and Mr. Suttipong Pimpisarn. Mr. Chawalit and Mr. Tivakorn are now under arrest, while Mr. Suttipong
is still at large.
However, the sources say, Mr. Santiparp also invited a friend whose
father is a police officer to join the plot. This friend declined the offer and later told his
father about Mr. Santiparp′s plan after he heard the news about Mr. Akeyuth′s disappearance, which
eventually led to Mr. Santiparp′s arrest.
statement, he acted when Mr Akeyuth was dining in a restaurant in northern Bangkok. He called Mr.
Santiparp to pick him up, so the driver met with Mr. Suttipong, hid him in the backseat, and drove
to meet with Mr. Akeyuth. Once the businessman got into the car, Mr. Suttipong reportedly threatened
him with a handgun.
After Mr. Akeyuth was driven home, where he was held in handcuffs, other
conspirators joined with Mr. Santiparp and Mr. Suttipong. During his captivity, Mr. Akeyuth′s son
phoned him to ask about the house key, so Mr. Akeyuth tried to send a signal in the conversation
while the kidnappers watched him closely.
Sensing something suspicious, Mr. Akeyuth′s son drove to the house, but did not enter
the property. He observed the house from outside for a while, then drove
In the meantime, the kidnappers
destroyed servers of the residence′s CCTV to hide their trails. On then next morning, they forced
Mr. Akeyuth to write 3 cheques, totalling 5 million baht. Mr. Akeyuth was then forced to hand the
cheques to one of his unsuspecting employees who went straight away to the bank to get the
money. They appointed Suvannabhumi Airport as the
place to meet and pick up the money.
The bank staff called Mr. Akeyuth to confirm it is his
consent to let the employee withdraw the money on his behalf. Mr. Akeyuth, threatened with the gun,
gave the consent. As Mr. Akeyuth had withdrawn his money in this manner before, the bank staff did
not become suspicious.
The team drove Mr. Akeyuth to pick up the money at the Airport.
Details grow murky after this point. According to what Mr. Santiparp told the police, the group
intended to let Mr. Akeyuth go on the highway, but the businessman broke free from the car and
attempted to run away as the kidnappers were still talking.
Mr. Santiparp said they rushed
out to hold down Mr. Akeyuth and killed him in anger by holding his throat to death. Reportedly, Mr.
Suttipong was the one who strangled Mr. Akeyuth with shoelaces afterwards to make sure he was
Police sources say the investigators are not convinced. They hypothesized that Mr.
Santiparp might have planned the murder to cover up their kidnapping all along.
The body was
dumped near Jingjo (Kangaroo) Mountain in Phattalung province. Mr. Santiparp attempted to convince
his friend – the policeman′s son – to help him clean up the mess, but the man reportedly refused.
Mr. Santiparp was later arrested in Bangkok suburb.
Mr. Santiparp and 2 other suspects are
facing numerous charges, including robbing and killing, forcing the victim to sign financial
document, and unlawful detention of the victim.