BANGKOK — The Department of Special Investigation said Tuesday that bone fragments of a Karen community rights activist missing since 2014 have been found.
At a presser on Tuesday, the Department of Special Investigation said that bone fragments belonging to Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, who went missing after being detained in Kaeng Krachan National Park in April 2014, match those of his mother.
The bone fragments were found in August inside a 200-liter oil tank submerged in water near a suspension bridge inside Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi province.
“The tank that was found was burnt. The bones were also burnt,” DSI deputy chief Kornwat Panpraphakorn said.
The DSI said parts of the bone fragments, which came from the skull, share DNA with Billy’s mother, Pairoh Rakchongcharoen.
Activists have accused then-director of Kaeng Krachan National Park Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn of engineering the disappearance of the local Karen activist. However, the department has not ruled out the perpetrators or his cause of death. He is believed to be burnt in an effort to cover up the murder.
Several suspects have been questioned, but officials refused to name them and said that the investigation is still ongoing.
Chaiwat and several park officials briefly detained Billy on 17 April 2014 to reprimand him for “wild honey theft” but claimed they later released him without charge. Billy, a campaigner for community rights, had not been seen since. His friends and family feared the 30-year-old activist was abducted and murdered for his opposition to the government’s eviction efforts.
This is a developing story and may be updated without notice.
Additional reporting Asaree Thaitrakulpanich and Tappanai Boonbandit