Thu, August 18, 2022

in-focus

Investigators wrap up mystery of Tangmo’s death, suspects out on bail


The investigation into the death of TV actress Nida “Tangmo” Patcharaveerapong in late February, which sparked many theories and plenty of debate, was finally wrapped up on Tuesday.

At a press conference on Tuesday, police ruled out murder and concluded that she died in an accident caused by negligence and recklessness.

Pol Lt-General Jiraphat Phumphichit, chief of Police Region 1, met the press at Police Region 1 headquarters to announce the conclusion of the case. The case was then forwarded to public prosecutors in Nonthaburi, who then slapped the six suspects with relevant charges in court.

The suspects were released on bail and public prosecutors said they would set up a three-member panel to review the report.

Tangmo, 37, reportedly fell off a speedboat into the Chao Phraya River on February 24 and her body was found two days later. She was on the boat with five others, who now face criminal charges. A sixth person is also facing charges for allegedly advising the five suspects to keep quiet.

Jiraphat became the chief investigator of the case, which fast captured public interest and became the talk of the town.

Investigators wrap up mystery of Tangmo’s death, suspects out on bail He and six other senior investigators told the press that they had interrogated the six suspects and recorded testimony provided by 124 witnesses.

The 2,249-page investigative report is supported by 88 times of evidence, 47 pieces of documentary evidence and 200 video clips.

The police team also provided details of the charges faced by the suspects:

Investigators wrap up mystery of Tangmo’s death, suspects out on bail 1. Tanupat "Por" Lerttaweewit

• Negligence causing death in violation of Section 291 of the Criminal Code. The offence carries a maximum jail term of 10 years and/or a maximum fine of Bt200,000.

• Violating the 1913 Navigation in the Thai Waters Act by using a boat with an expired licence.

• Violating the law by driving a boat without a licence.

• Violating Section 119 of the navigation law by jettisoning waste into a river.

• Violating Section 172 of the Criminal Code by providing false testimony to the police.

Investigators wrap up mystery of Tangmo’s death, suspects out on bail 2. Phaiboon "Robert" Trikanjananun

• Negligence causing death.

• Violating navigation law by driving a boat without a licence.

• Violating the law by using a boat with an expired licence.

• Violating Section 119 of the navigation law by jettisoning waste into a river.

Investigators wrap up mystery of Tangmo’s death, suspects out on bail 3. Wisapat "Sand" Manomairat

• Negligence causing death.

Investigators wrap up mystery of Tangmo’s death, suspects out on bail 4. Nitas "Job" Kiratisoothisathorn

• Violating Section 184 of the Criminal Code by helping others to escape the criminal penalty and destroying evidence.

• Violating Section 119 of the navigation law by jettisoning waste into a river.

Investigators wrap up mystery of Tangmo’s death, suspects out on bail 5. Idsarin "Gatick" Juthasuksawat

• Violating Section 184 of the Criminal Code by helping others escape the criminal penalty or destroying evidence.

• Violating Section 172 of the Criminal Code by providing false testimony to the police.

6. Pheem (surname withheld)

• Violating Section 184 of the Criminal Code by helping others escape the criminal penalty, destroying evidence and telling others to give false statements to police.

At the press conference, police also showed a video clip to try and establish what the investigators think happened on the night of February 24 before and after Tangmo fell off the speedboat.

Jiraphat confirmed that based on GPS records and other evidence including phone records and video feed from security cameras along Chao Phraya’s banks, Tangmo fell off the boat at 10:34:09pm.

He and other investigators confirmed that Tangmo was at the rear of the boat when she fell, before cutting the meeting short and saying that they needed to rush the case to the public prosecutors.

Investigators wrap up mystery of Tangmo’s death, suspects out on bail Mysterious circumstances

Tangmo’s death has been shrouded in mystery as several prominent lawyers and public figures rejected the account provided by the five who were on the speedboat with the actress.

That fateful night, Tangmo joined Tanupat, Phaiboon, Wisapat, Nitas and Idsarin on the speedboat after having dinner with them at a riverside restaurant. They were to drink wine on the boat.

Social media has been buzzing over the past two months about whether Tangmo’s death was really an accident and what actually happened that night. The most common questions raised were: Did Tangmo fall from the front or the back of the boat? Was it a real accident? If so, was some information being concealed or was it murder in disguise?

Owing to this public attention, a Senate committee on justice also stepped in to look into the case. The panel was pushed by one of its high-profile members, retired forensics chief Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan, who has long been an opponent of the Thai police. Police suspicions also prompted a second autopsy on March 17.

Porntip has repeatedly said she does not believe Tangmo fell off the back of the boat and does not believe the big, deep gash in the victim’s inner right thigh was caused by a propeller blade.

However, police dismissed her claims and confirmed to the press on Tuesday that Tangmo did indeed fall from the back of the boat and the wound had been caused by the blade.

Earlier Wisapat told police that Tangmo fell off the boat while she was trying to urinate over the rear edge of the speedboat.

But many questioned Wisapat’s testimony, arguing that Tangmo was wearing a tight bodysuit and was too conservative to have exposed herself in public.

At the press conference, police said they had never confirmed that Tangmo had gone to the back of the boat to relieve herself, adding that they had simply quoted Wisapat’s claim.

Police also pointed out that no signs of urine could be found on the back of the boat because it had been washed off by water.

Meanwhile, Jiraphat said no help was being offered to the suspects and that they face the charge of causing the death of another through negligence. He also insisted that it was an accident caused by negligence and that someone should be held responsible.

Investigators wrap up mystery of Tangmo’s death, suspects out on bail New suspect

Pheem, a new name added to the list later, has been charged with advising the five suspects to not meet police immediately after the incident.

The five had disappeared from the scene on the night of the incident and only showed up to meet police at 8pm on the following day.

After wrapping up the press conference, the team escorted the suspects along with eight boxes of evidence and investigation report to hand them over to the prosecutors in Nonthaburi.

Meanwhile, Tangmo’s mother Panida Siriyudthayothin and her lawyer Decha Kittiwitthayanan said they were pleased with the police investigation team’s explanation.

Panida said she can now focus on the cremation of Tangmo’s body and will consult their Protestant priest about scheduling rites.

Published : April 26, 2022

By : THE NATION