Thais gripped by mystery over Mafia monk's death

  • AseanPlus News
  • Tuesday, 24 Jun 2003

POLICE believe that the gun used to kill Phra Kru Nanthapiwat – the “Mafia monk” who was shot dead last week – was from a type supplied to government enforcement agencies. 

“The spent cartridge found at the scene is only available for certain state agencies and cannot be bought from ammunition dealers,” said Lt-Col Sombat Srikongrat of the Muang district police station in Nonthaburi. 

He did not name the agency but it is understood that he was referring either to the armed forces or the police. 

Police are midway into unravelling the crime networks linked to the monk who was shot dead last Wednesday. The abbot of the Klang Bang Sue Temple left behind a fortune estimated at about Bt 200 million (RM20mil). 

Dozens of people, including the monk’s close aides and followers have been questioned in connection with the murder. Among them were four young women whom he lavished with large sums of money, cars and gifts. 

The monk apparently left a written note listing his “enemies” and a letter naming the inheritors of his money and properties. 

If the letter is taken as the last will of the monk, three adopted children – a two-year boy, Peerapong Thaithae, and two 12-year old girls, Chareenet Watchaphol and Withosakorn Kanchana, – would end up as the main beneficiaries. 

Chareenet, the daughter of the monk’s cook, stands to inherit Bt1 million (RM100,000) and a townhouse.  

Peerapong, a son of the monk’s driver would get Bt 1 million and a luxury car, while Withosakorn, the daughter of a close follower, would get a house in Nonthaburi. 

The monk’s lawyer Kampanart Mueqnnak, however, has denied knowledge about such a will. 

Thais who were shocked by the monk’s “gangland-style” murder were jolted again the next day when it was revealed that he was on the police list of suspected local “mafia” figures linked to crimes and illegal businesses. 

Police investigations show that the monk was behind a motorcycle taxi protection racket that earned about Bt 1 million a week and was also involved in embezzling funds at another temple where he had been the abbot for more than three decades. 

Worshippers of the Koo Temple who were outraged by his connections with underworld figures and sexual flings with female followers, had him removed from the shrine. He then moved to the Klang Bang Sue Temple where he served as the abbot and as a medium with spiritual powers. 

On December 13 last year, the monk, who often travels with his bodyguards and carries pistol hidden in his saffron robes, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. 

While a funeral ceremony was in progress, two gunmen fired shots at the monk and his bodyguards. The monk was hit in the leg. He and his guards returned fire, forcing the gunmen to flee. 

Last Wednesday, the assassin or assassins used a 9mm pistol to fire at the monk at point-blank range while he was resting in his quarters. 

Police Maj-Gen Wut Puawet, who is leading the murder probe, said the monk’s close aides could be involved. 

“The motive may be related to theft of his money,” he said. Initial investigations showed Bt 1 million was reportedly missing from the monk’s room. 

·THE term” hot dog” literally means that in Tambon Tha Rae in the Sakon Nakhon province.  

Strays dogs are well fed for a reason – they eventually end up being slaughtered and eaten. 

Provincial governor Panchai Bavornrattapran said although people in this particular cluster of villages had the appetite for dog meat, the entire province’s image had been tarnished. 

“People think that all residents here eat dogs. We want to change this image,” he had said.  

The governor is planning to rid the province of all canine slaughter houses and stalls selling dog meat. 

“I’ll have a heart-to-heart talk with them and offer them new jobs so that their livelihoods will not be affected,” he said. 

·A woman hacked her husband to death with a hoe, sliced his penis off and boiled it before hanging herself in Nakhon Pathom on Saturday. 

Preeyapha Tasuwan, 37, left a note saying that she killed Rangsan Supakpattan, 46, because he wanted to leave her and marry another woman. 

Her stepdaughter, Amporn Supakpattana, 22 found the bodies when she came to visit her father on Sunday.  

The bloodied hoe was found near Preeyapha’s body, hanged from a beam in the house. 

Police said the man’s severed organ was found boiled in an electric cooker. 

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