ANN/THE NATION – Thailand police confirmed that a fugitive crime boss from Phatthalung had been shot dead in his hiding place atop a mountain in Trang.
The Royal Thai Police Information Centre confirmed that Chavalit Thongduang, 37, was killed while resisting arrest from his hiding place in the Khao Banthad National Park. The park is in the southern province Trang’s Palian district.
Before the centre’s statement, online publication Khaosod had reported that Chavalit had been killed while resisting arrest.
However, Assistant National Police chief Pol Lieutenant-General Itthipol Atchariyapradit rejected the report saying he was overseeing the hunt for the fugitive and had not heard about the killing.
The information centre later said it had checked the information and found it to be accurate.
Some 300 armed police officers from Provincial Police Regions 8 and 9 had been sent up the mountain near a village in Palian district to hunt Chavalit down.
A villager had been arrested for allegedly helping the convict and his henchmen find a hiding place. The villager had been about to deliver food to the fugitives when he was caught. Police said Chavalit was armed with an M16 rifle, an HK-1 rifle, a 9mm pistol and some 600 rounds of ammunition.
The crime boss had managed to escape when he had faked an illness and had been admitted to Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital.
Chavalit has been under the watchful eye of the police since 2007 before he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years and three months in prison for trying to help one of his henchmen break out of jail. He would have completed his term on May 6.
Chavalit had been wanted over several cases, but always managed to escape sentencing thanks to help from a big-name politician in Phatthalung.
Among the serious charges, Chavalit was accused of masterminding the abduction and murder of a police officer in Phatthalung’s Muang district in 2007. He was also suspected of masterminding the abduction of small narcotics dealers in the South to extort protection fees.