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Navy sniper charged with assassinating local politician

Murder suspect CPO2 Sahatpattharapol Duangsawat is taken to Cha-uat for the crime re-enactment on Thursday evening. (Photo by Nujaree Raekrun)

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NAKHON SI THAMMARAT - A navy special warfare sniper has been arrested and charged with the assassination of a former deputy chairman of the Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Administrative Organisation in Cha-uat district last month.

CPO2 Sahatpattharapol Duangsawat, a 24-year-old Phatthalung resident, was taken to the scene of the murder for a crime re-enactment on Thursday evening, and then to the Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Court, where police obtained approval to further detain him.

His bail request was opposed by police and denied.

CPO2 Sahatpattharapol, a member of the navy's underwater demolition assault unit, popularly known as Thailand's SEALs, was detained at his barracks in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district on Wednesday by navy police executing an arrest warrant.

He is accused of the murder of Anan Klungchan, a former PAO deputy chairman and a former Chartthaipattana Party election candidate, in Nakhon Si Thammarat on May 27.

After his arrest he was transferred to Cha-uat investigators, who are in charge of the case. 

According to police, CPO2 Sahatpattharapol at first denied all allegations. But after being questioned by Cha-uat police chief Pol Col Thamanoon Faiju he later confessed he shot Anan dead.  

Arrest warrants were earlier obtained for two other suspects in Anan’s death. They are Chaowalit Thongduang, 31, and Suriya Kaewsook, 28, both Phatthalung residents.

Police then widened the probe and obtained court warrants for CPO2 Sahatpattharapol and three others - Saknarong Thongruang, 33, Chaianan Thongruang, 30, both of Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Sarayut Sunrat, 24.

Mr Saknarong and Mr Chaianan were the alleged spotters and Mr Sarayut the driver who took the suspects to the crime scene.

The team was reportedly paid one million baht for the murder of the former politician.

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