Phuket Gazette

BANGKOK: Bancha Noppawong, arrested for the 2001 murder of environmental activist Jurin Rachapol, has been convicted by a Bangkok court. He was handed the death penalty but is expected to appeal the sentence. K. Jurin was found shot dead on land close to the Wachara Prawn Farm – where Bancha worked – in Pa Khlok. A number of activists, including K. Jurin, had contested prawn farming in the protected mangrove forest. Somsak Wongsawanond, the owner of Wachara Prawn Farm, was also arrested in connection with this crime and charged with conspiracy to commit murder. The case against him has been dismissed and he has now returned to his farm. The Gazette also spoke with Juroon Rachapol, elder brother of K. Jurin. He gave a cautious welcome to the verdicts by saying, “I understand that everyone involved in this investigation has done their best.” K. Juroon expressed some concern that he, his family or other environmental activists, might suffer violence in the future but added that he has confidence in the government’s action on “influential people”.

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