Chalerm says Akeyuth’s death unrelated to politics

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BANGKOK, June 12 – Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung today abruptly ruled out any political motive behind the death of businessman Akeyuth Anchanbutr.

He said the case was uncomplicated and the robbery of Bt5 million cash from Mr Akeyuth led to the murder in which three people were implicated.

Two have been arrested and the third is contacting the authorities to surrender, he said.

Mr Akeyuth’s family reported his disappearance to police last Saturday. The family lawyer later said he believed there was a motive other than robbery.

Mr Chalerm said the lawyer could give evidence to the authorities and that he would not allow politicians or anyone to act above the law as long as he supervises the National Police Bureau.

An army spokesman said Master Sgt Ittipol Pengduang, father of murder suspect Santiparb, who was Akeyuth’s driver, admitted to his superiors that his son informed him last Friday of the murder.

Sgt Ittipol is attached to Army Engineer Battalion 401 at Abhai Borirak Camp in Phatthalung.

According to Sgt Ittipol, his son gave the money he took from Mr Akeyuth to his mother in Bangkok and told her to send it to him in Phatthalung.

The army spokesman quoted Sgt Ittipol as saying that he hid the money at his father’s house in Songkhla.

The spokesman said Ittipol’s verbal account was preliminary and further questioning by police will be needed.

Mr Akeyuth, a financial and real estate businessman and owner of Thai Insider website, has been a staunch critic of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the present Yingluck Shinawatra administration.

Mr Akeyuth’s sister Arunee Sunthornpat, 51, confirmed that the body found at Khao Jing Jo in Phatthalung is her brother.

His body would be sent to the Police Hospital’s Forensic Institute for further examination.