Ex-soldier acquitted over attmpted murder of referee

The Criminal Court on Wednesday acquitted a 55-year-old former army officer over charges relating to the attempted murder of a former Thai Premier League (TPL) referee, citing lack of evidence. Thanom Borikut was shot in front of a dormitory at the Sports Authority of Thailand headquarters on Ramkhamhaeng Road in Hua Mark early in the morning of Sept 4, 2013. The 46-year-old referee was shot three times but was not killed. Witnesses said two people wearing helmets approached Mr Thanom on a motorcycle and fired several shots at him before fleeing through Gate 4 near Assumption University.

Two months after the shooting, police arrested Kosin Srinualkan, then 19, an alleged accomplice of the gunman who shot and injured Mr Thanom. During questioning Kosin alleged Sgt Maj Sirisak Janluang, 53, a former intelligence officer attached to an army unit in Bangkok, hired him for 20,000 baht to help carry out the attack.

Sgt Maj Sirisak later turned himself in to MPB investigators but denied any wrongdoing. The two men were indicted on charges of attempted murder and possessing a gun and ammunition without permission. Kosin died on June 28 of heart failure.

The Criminal Court on Wednesday said the evidence that showed Sgt Maj Sirisak had made contact with Kosin via mobile phone and that he searched for information about Mr Thanom’s house registration did not carry enough weight to prove he was the mastermind of the shooting.

Kosin’s statement during police questioning which alleged Sgt Maj Sirisak hired him was merely a verbal accusation without substantial evidence. Therefore, the judge decided to give the second defendant the benefit of doubt.