(13 March) The police have expanded the investigation over attempted murder of a Redshirt protest after evidences suggested that the case might be related to two other dead bodies found earlier this year.
Previously, the police have alleged that a prominent anti-government activist might have instructed his "guards" to torture a man called Mr. Yuem Nilla, who held membership of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), in the anti-government protest campsite at Lumpini Park in downtown Bangkok.
According to Mr. Yuem, a the suspects later dumped him into Bang Pakong River east of Bangkok with his feet and hands bound together, but a group of locals reportedly rescued the man and sent him to hospital. Mr. Yuem is reported to be under intensive care, as his lung and other organs have been damaged during the alleged torture.
The police have issued arrest warrants for Mr. Issara Somchai, a core leader of the People's Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD) and several of his guards in connection with the crime. Mr. Issara has refused to surrender himself to the police.
Today, the Bangkok Metropolitan Police stated that Mr. Yuem's case might not be an isolated incident.
Pol.Maj.Gen. Thitirart Nongharnpitak, deputy commander of the BMP, said in a press conference that the case features many similarities to recent discoveries of dead bodies in Bangkok.
On 28 January, the police found a dead body wearing anti-government protest outfit next to the railroad in Prachachuen district, and nearly a month later, on 26 February, another dead body with anti-government clothes and accessories was found in a submerged sack near the pier of Riverside Hotel on the western bank of Chao Praya River.
The first body was later identified as Mr. Boonthiang Kham-Im, a 41-years old resident of Chaiyabhum province, while the second body remains unidentified, Pol.Maj.Gen. Thitirat said.
Coupled with Mr. Yuem's case, all three incidents shared traces of torture, according to Pol.Maj.Gen. Thitirat. In these cases, he said, the bodies and the survivor were found with bound feet and hands, and wearing anti-government accessories, which might be planted on the persons without their willingness; Mr. Yuem has previously told police officers that the guards placed a whistle around his neck just before they dumped him into the river.
Furthermore, according to the deputy commander, investigation reveals that both Mr. Yuem and Mr. Boonthiang have ties to the Redshirts movements, raising speculation that the culprit in all three cases committed the crime out of political motive with intention to conceal the bodies afterward.
Nevertheless, Pol.Maj.Gen. Thitirart stressed that further investigation is needed before the police can officially establish the motive of the three incidents.
"We don't know for sure the intention of the culprits," Pol.Maj.Gen. Thitirart told reporters, "Please give the police some time to work things out".
He added that the police have acquired CCTV footage which purportedly captured the moments the suspects arrived on a car at Rama VIII Bridge and dumped the unidentified body into Chao Praya River before fleeing the area shortly afterward.
The area was said to be sealed off from traffic at the time, as officials were inspecting the area after PCAD guards dismantled their campsites on the bridge.
The police are still investigating the ownership of the car seen in the CCTV footage, Pol.Maj.Gen. Thitirart said.