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Thai Fugitive Arrested in Bali to Be Extradited to Thailand

One of Thailand’s most wanted fugitives, Chaowalit Thongduang, will be escorted back to Thailand on a Thai air force plane after being apprehended on Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali. Chaowalit, who has been on the run for months, faces charges related to multiple killings and drug trafficking in Thailand.

Chaowalit Thongduang, 37, also known as “Pang Na Node,” escaped from detention in Thailand while receiving medical treatment at a hospital. He was detained on Thursday in Bali, where he was found using a fake Indonesian national identity card and birth certificate under the name Sulaiman. This identity card was obtained shortly after his arrival in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh in December 2023, following a 17-hour speedboat journey from India, according to Wahyu Widada, head of the Indonesian National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department.

“The fugitive who was secured is one of the most wanted fugitives by Thai authorities because he had committed many crimes before eventually fleeing to Indonesia to hide,” Wahyu said. During the raid on his apartment in Badung Regency, Bali, authorities seized several pieces of evidence, including four cell phones, several fake identity documents, and an Indonesian bank account book.

Thai Minister of Justice Tawee Sodsong traveled to Indonesia to meet with Chaowalit. He announced that on Tuesday, Chaowalit would be flown back to Thailand on a military plane. Chaowalit is wanted in Thailand for the murder and attempted murder of police officers and other individuals, as well as drug trafficking. Tawee noted that Chaowalit commended the authorities for their ability to track him down after he fled through multiple countries.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin expressed confidence in the legal system’s ability to bring Chaowalit to justice. An agreement signed between Indonesia and Thailand in 1978 supports Chaowalit’s extradition.

Chaowalit had escaped from a hospital in Nakhon Si Thammarat on October 22 last year while he was on trial at the Phatthalung provincial court for attempting to kill a police officer. Despite an extensive manhunt, police were unable to locate him until his recent arrest in Bali, following an alleged assault on his Indonesian girlfriend.

Justice Minister Tawee Sodsong, along with a team of police officers and anti-narcotics officials, flew to Indonesia to discuss Chaowalit’s deportation and issues related to transnational narcotics smuggling. Tawee expressed gratitude to Indonesian officials for their cooperation in the arrest of Chaowalit, who is wanted on multiple charges, including illegal narcotics trafficking.

Pol Lt-Gen Prachuap Wongsuk, acting deputy national police chief, stated that upon Chaowalit’s arrival in Bangkok, he will face charges of escaping from custody before being sent to a maximum-security prison. The swift coordination between Thai and Indonesian authorities underscores the commitment to tackling transnational crime and ensuring that fugitives face justice.

laurenmandt@gmail.com

View Comments

  • Great news that Chaowalit Thongduang has been apprehended! I'm curious to know more about the reasons behind his status as one of Thailand's most wanted fugitives. Could you please provide more details about his alleged crimes or any significant events that led to his fugitive status?

  • Chaowalit Thongduang being escorted back to Thailand on a Thai air force plane is like a high-stakes game of chess where the fugitive is the king and the authorities are the skilled chess players. The plane represents the authorities' strategic move to capture the king and bring him back to his home country, just like in chess where the ultimate goal is to capture the opponent's king.

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