Thai officials discover remains of missing Karen activist

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This undated photo provided by Phinnapha Phrueksaphan, wife of activist Porlajee Rakchongcharoen shows Porlajee, sitting on the road in Phetchaburi province. (Phinnapha Phrueksaphan via AP)
This undated photo provided by Phinnapha Phrueksaphan, wife of activist Porlajee Rakchongcharoen shows Porlajee, sitting on the road in Phetchaburi province. (Phinnapha Phrueksaphan via AP)

Bangkok (AP) — Thai law enforcement officials say they have found the remains of an ethnic Karen community activist who disappeared five years ago in suspicious circumstances.

Porlajee Rakchongcharoen, known as Billy, was last seen in the custody of Kaeng Krachan National Park officials in western Thailand on April 17, 2014.

Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation announced Tuesday it had discovered an oil drum sunk in a reservoir at the park with a bone fragment near it that matched the DNA of Porlajee’s mother. Both the drum and the bone had been burnt.

Porlajee had been leading the Karen community in a lawsuit against park chief Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn over his efforts to evict them. Chaiwat acknowledged that Porlajee was arrested for illegally collecting wild honey, but said he had been released before disappearing.