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TSUNAMI FRAUD CASE
'Intricate network' behind fake death
By: WIMOL NOOKAEW and WASSAYOS NGAMKHAM
Published: 28/03/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: NewsPolice believe an intricate network, including state officials, were involved in helping fake the death of Kankanit Angkinant.
Kankanit, then and now.
Meanwhile the PTT, one of Mrs Kankanit's major creditors, will relaunch its lawsuits against her.
Pol Col Veerasilp Khwanseng, Pak Nam Ranong police chief, said Ranong police were gathering evidence to prosecute those who reported false details over the death of Mrs Kankanit, daughter of a former Phetchaburi MP, who allegedly faked her demise in the tsunami four years ago.
Ranong police are receiving details of the case from Muang district police station in Samut Sakhon, where Mrs Kankanit and her husband Charnchai Chinsiri are being held.
The couple were arrested on Thursday on fraud charges laid in Samut Sakhon on June 8, 2005.
Pol Col Veerasilp said he believed there could be a web of intrigue with more people involved in helping Mrs Kankanit to avoid charges.
He added police are looking for clues as to whether state officials and people in Ranong were implicated in the case too.
Mrs Kankanit was believed to have been killed in the Dec 26, 2004, tsunami that hit six southern provinces on the Andaman coast. However, police discovered evidence that proved she was still alive.
Mrs Kankanit's husband claimed her body had been found in the sea off Koh Phayam in Ranong's Muang district.
But data from the disaster prevention and mitigation office in Ranong showed the 164 people killed in the tsunami in Ranong were found only in Kapoe and Suk Samran districts.
No deaths were reported in Muang district and the name of Mrs Kankanit did not appear on the list of the victims found in the province.
Crime Suppression Division chief Pongpat Chayaphan had told officers to investigate whether any state officials had conspired to help fake Mrs Kankanit's death.
''The tricky part is some officials may be involved in the case. It is obvious a plot was hatched from the beginning. The CSD is taking steps to deal with it,'' he said.
He said all officials involved in issu ing documents and ID cards to Mrs Kankanit must be subject to scrutiny.
Pol Col Kittisak Sukwattanakul, chief of CSD Division 5, said investigators would trace the money trail of the couple and investigate possible asset transfers.
Pol Col Kittisak said he had received information that people in ''coloured uniforms'' might be implicated in the case too.
The PTT, one of Mrs Kankanit's creditors, will resume filing lawsuits against the woman in cases involving payments of dud cheques.
A source from PTT said Mrs Kankanit made out cheques to the energy company for approximately 400 million baht more than a decade ago when she and her husband ran a wholesale and retail petrol business. The cheques bounced, though.
Before Mrs Kankanit was pronounced dead in 2004, court verdicts were handed down against the couple, including the seizure and foreclosure of their assets.
After 2004, the PTT decided to take legal action against her father, Piya Angkinant, who was her loan guarantor in some cases.