Thai serial killer sought over new murder after early release

BANGKOK (AFP) – Thai police are hunting a convicted serial killer in connection with another murder months after he was released for good behaviour, authorities said yesterday.

Somkid Pumpuang was sentenced to life in 2005 for the killing of five women believed to be involved in the nightlife industry, leading the media to dub him Thailand’s “Jack the Ripper”.

But the 55-year-old was deemed an “excellent prisoner” and let free in May, the Thai corrections department said in a statement. Seven months later authorities want to rearrest him in connection with the murder of a 51-year-old hotel maid in northeastern Thailand.

Several police stations in the area are cooperating in the hunt for the serial killer, case officer Chatchawin Srikaeolor told AFP. “We believe that the murder took place on Sunday morning,” he said.

Authorities are also offering a BHT50,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

Thailand’s crime suppression division posted a picture of Somkid on its Facebook page under the heading “Most Wanted”.

The corrections department said it was urgently reviewing the sentence reduction policies but also said it was operating at three times capacity with 370,000 inmates.

Overcrowding remains a serious problem in Thai jails, which has one of the largest prison populations in the world.

The number reached an all-time high earlier this year, according to a report this month from the International Federation for Human Rights and the Union for Civil Liberty.

Nearly 80 per cent are jailed for drug-related offences.