Park official to be charged in murder of activist

FOUR people suspected of murdering an environmental activist who disappeared eight years ago are set to be indicted, Thai officials said, reversing a controversial decision to dismiss charges two years ago.

Ethnic Karen leader Por Cha Lee Rakcharoen, better known as Billy, went missing in April 2014 while working on a lawsuit accusing officials of destroying minorities’ homes in Kaeng Krachen national park.

An investigation centred around then park chief Chaiwat Limlikitaksor, who was the last person to see Billy alive, but in 2020 murder charges against him were dropped due to “insufficient evidence”.

The decision ignited criticism, with Billy’s wife vowing to fight on and international rights groups saying the dismissal made a “mockery” of the Thai legal system.

On Monday, a spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General said his office had reversed course and “decided to indict four suspects involved in the case of Billy”.

He said Chaiwat and three other people would be “indicted for premeditated murder, detention and concealing a corpse”. — AFP

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