A police chief investigating a claim that 113 paintings of late national artist Thawan Duchanee had gone missing from his house on Thursday cast doubt on the allegation by saying that officers could so far only confirm that 10 could not be found.
Pol Maj-General Nithinand Petchborom, deputy city police commissioner, also said he believed the “missing 10” were still in Thailand.
He was referring to a recent claim by Thawan’s only son, Doytibet Duchanee, that at least 113 of his father’s paintings had disappeared from his home in Bangkok.
Doytibet did not categorically state who he thought was responsible but pointed the finger at his 70-year-old stepmother, Thippachat Wannakul.
Thippachat, who was Thawan’s common-law wife for more than 30 years, has filed a rival motion to Doytibet with three courts to be executor of Thawan’s assets. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the artist’s son.
“So far, police have traced about 10 paintings that are still in Thailand,” Nithinand said.
His officers were still trying to establish if the 10 paintings had been removed from the house before or after Thawan’s death.
However, Nithinand declined to say who he thought had removed the paintings, saying it appeared from Doytibet’s statements that the whole saga had been caused by internal family feuds.
The gathering of evidence is expected to be complete next week, he said, after which those who suspected of being involved in criminal behaviour would be summoned for questioning.
“Those who have bought the paintings can also be charged with receiving stolen items,” he said.