Did Kanokwan’s father surrender or was he arrested?
The father of Deputy Education Minister Kanokwan Vilawan has surrendered to face corruption charges related to alleged encroachment in the Khao Yai National Park, a spokesman of the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) said on Tuesday.
A police source, however, said the absconding suspect had been arrested.
OAG deputy spokesman Prayuth Phetkhun said Phichit Juthaprachakul, director of the OAG’s anti-corruption office for Area 2, had informed the office that Soonthorn Vilawan had surrendered to police and he would soon be handed over to the Public Prosecutors Office Area 2.
Prayuth said once police hand Soonthorn over to the public prosecutors, he would be charged in court for allegedly violating Section 151 of the Criminal Code by encouraging officials to commit malfeasance.
While Prayuth said Soonthorn had turned himself in, a police source said he was actually arrested by a team of police officers who had tracked him down. Details of the arrest were not given.
Last week, Pol Maj-General Jaroonkiart Pankaew, commander of the Anti-Corruption Division, said Soonthorn might have fled Thailand by crossing the border.
Soonthorn, chairman of the Prachin Buri Provincial Administration Organisation, Kanokwan and eight other persons have been accused by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) of illegally occupying about 150 rai (24 hectares) of land in Khao Yai National Park in Prachinburi province.
Kanokwan was released on bail after she was arraigned in the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases Region 2 in Muang district of Rayong province.
There has been confusion on whether Soonthorn could face charges because both Jaroonkiart and Prayuth said last week that by normal count, the statute of limitations in the charges against Soonthorn should have expired on June 13.
But Prayuth added that the opinion of the National Anti-Corruption Commission might be sought on whether the anti-corruption act’s provision should be applied to this case. Under the act, the statute of limitations in a corruption case would not expire if a suspect flees before he or she is arraigned in court.