Fugitive Somchai Khunpluem arrested following tip off
Police were able to arrest fugitive Somchai Khunpluem after receiving a tip-off about two months ago that he was visiting Samitivej Hospital for medical treatment, an informed source claimed Wednesday.
The tip was later confirmed with the source adding that Somchai used the name Kim sae Tang when he consulted his doctors. The police investigation revealed he usually changed routes to and from the hospital to avoid police though he regularly used the motorway.
The source claimed the investigation showed Somchai has no passport, causing police to believe that he did not flee abroad but instead remained at his residence in Bang Saen, Chon Buri. It had earlier been speculated that Somchai had escaped to Cambodia.
When police made the arrest, Somchai was found in his Lexus with a driver, a man and a woman.
He was picked up by police when his Lexus stopped at the Pattanakarn expressway toll gate.
Somchai, former mayor of Tambon Sansuek administration in Chon Buri and an influential figure in Pattaya, was sentenced to 25 years in jail by the Supreme Court in 2012 for masterminding the murder of Tambon Tha Samet Kamnan Prayoon Sitthichoke at a wedding party in March 2003.
Somchai and another defendant, Passakorn Homhuan, 44, failed to show up for the reading of the verdict last year, so the Supreme Court read its ruling in their absence and issued arrest warrants for them.
Somchai was also sentenced in 2006 by the provincial court and Appeals Court to five years and four months in prison for corruption involving the sale of a site in a forest reserve in tambon Khao Maikaew in Chon Buri in 1992 for use as a garbage dump.
In that case, Somchai also failed to show up to hear the Supreme Court’s verdict, due to be read on April 7, 2006.