18 May 2023 :
The Lower Court sentenced the former Mayor of Wang Wiset district to the death penalty on May 17, 2023 over the murder of a lawyer and land rights activist in Trang province, southern Thailand, two years ago.
The hitman and another man were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Trang Provincial Court on May 17 sentenced 52 year old Charinrat “Chuan” Kruthirat to death after he and two others were found guilty of murdering 54 year old Somsak “Lawyer Wao” Ochuenjit in 2021.
Chuan was the mastermind behind the lawyer’s assassination.
At 7.40am on May 4, 2021, a gunman fatally shot Somsak while he was working in a rubber plantation near his home. Somsak had not long before told his family that he was receiving death threats.
Somsak was assassinated after leading a campaign for the right to agricultural land for poor farmers in Wang Wiset district.
Two years on, justice is set to be served for Somsak after the court sentenced Chuan to death for planning the murder and hiring a hitman.
The court also sentenced the former village chief of Moo 10, Chalermwat “Yai Pua” Nokroorak, to life imprisonment for his role in the planning of the murder although he did not participate on the day itself.
The hitman, Saranyoo “Nil” Kueboonsong, was at first sentenced to death for shooting dead Somsak. However, because the hitman ratted out Chuan – helping the police’s investigation hugely – and plead guilty, his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment.
All three men were taken into custody after the verdict was read on May 17 and taken to Trang Provincial Prison.
Somsak’s family travelled to Khao Phra Wiset Temple after the verdict was read to burn incense and to inform Somsak’s spirit to rest easy because justice had finally been served.
Wang Wiset district will hold elections to find a replacement mayor.