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Welcome home! Escaped Thai prisoner extradited from Indonesia

PHOTO: Matichon Online

A Thai prisoner, who escaped custody and managed to flee to Indonesia, is back on Thai soil, arriving on a specially chartered flight amid tight security late yesterday afternoon. Chaowalit Thongduang, aka Pang Nanod, landed at Nakhon Si Thammarat airport yesterday, after being on the run for 7 months.

Chaowalit taunted police whilst on the run, posting videos claiming he was a ‘patsy’ in many of the incidents he’d been charged with, and claiming senior police were ‘on the take’.

On October 22 last year, while imprisoned on charges of attempted murder, robbery, and the possession of illegal firearms, he fled Maharaj Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital, where he’d been receiving dental treatment. He then spent several weeks evading the authorities, reportedly hiding out in the mountains of Phatthalung, Trang, and Satun provinces.

Despite a massive police search and at one point, a shootout in which it was rumoured (falsely) that Chaovalit had been killed, he managed to evade capture, until he reportedly fled to Indonesia in a speedboat from Satun.

Following his arrest on the Indonesian island of Bali, the 37 year old landed back in Thailand at around 5.40pm yesterday, according to a Bangkok Post report. He was then handed over to senior figures from Immigration, Provincial Police Region 8, and the the commander of Nakhon Si Thammarat police.

Following questioning, he is expected to be handed over to the Department of Corrections to begin a sentence for attempted murder. He also faces other charges, including murder. Immigration police have also charged him with “sneaking out of the country” according to the report.

Security was tight on the journey from the airport to Nakhon Si Thammarat police station and it’s understood armed police commandos are being drafted in to escort Chaowalit to Bang Kwang Central Prison, just north of Bangkok, this morning.

While tight measures are in place to prevent him absconding again, Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong has also vowed to take legal action against anyone who may have helped Chaowalit escape the first time.

While on the run, the fugitive regularly took to social media to taunt the authorities and to claim he’d been treated unfairly. He claims to be the only person sentenced for his crimes, despite others being involved.

Last December, Chaowalit was sentenced in absentia to life in prison for attempted murder. The conviction relates to the shooting of a court assistant in the Muang district of Phattalung in September 2019. Four other suspects also received life sentences.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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