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Thailand’s ‘most wanted’ fugitive arrested in Bali after 17 hours on the run by speedboat

One of Thailand’s most wanted fugitives will be flown home on a Thai Air Force plane after being arrested on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, having been on the run for several months in connection with several murders and drug trafficking charges in his country, officials announced Monday.

Chaowalit Thongduang escaped from detention in Thailand while being treated at a hospital. When he was arrested on Thursday, he was using a fake Indonesian national ID card that he had received shortly after arriving in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh in December after a 17-year trip. hours by speedboat from India, said Wahyu Widada, head of the criminal department of the Indonesian National Police. Department of Investigation.

“The fugitive who was arrested is one of the most wanted fugitives by Thai authorities because (he) committed many crimes before finally fleeing to Indonesia to hide,” Widada said.

Indonesia Thailand Fugitive
In this undated image taken from video provided by Kompas TV, Indonesian police officers escort Thai fugitive Chaowalit Thongduang in Jakarta, Indonesia.

/PA


Chaowalit – also known by the nickname “Pang Na Node” – was arrested during a raid on his apartment in Badung regency in Bali. The authorities seized four cell phones from him as well as several false identity documents.

“We are still investigating local residents who helped give Chaowalit’s false identity,” Widada said.

Phanurat Lukboon, secretary-general of Thailand’s Narcotics Control Committee, said police seized several pieces of evidence, including a fake ID card and a birth certificate in Sulaiman’s name, which were allegedly used by Chaowalit, as well as than an Indonesian bank account book.

“When Chaowalit comes here, there must be someone who helped him enter Indonesia. We are now investigating who is the mastermind behind all this,” Phanurat said.

Thai Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong, who traveled to Indonesia to meet Chaowalit, said he would be flown Tuesday on a military plane to Thailand, where he is wanted for the murder or attempted murder of police officers and others and drug trafficking.

Tawee said Chaowalit praised authorities for being able to track him down after he fled across several countries.

In December last year, the Bangkok Post reported that he had been sentenced in absentia to life in prison in an attempted murder case dating back to 2019.

Hundreds of police officers were mobilized to recapture it, in an operation reportedly costing around 10 million baht ($271,816).

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said she was confident the justice system that apprehended Chaowalit could bring him to justice.

Indonesia and Thailand signed an extradition agreement in 1978.

AFP contributed to this report.

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