Wed, Jan 13, 2010 - Page 5 News List

Five Thais charged over Saudi gem murder


Thai authorities yesterday charged a senior policeman and four other police officers with murder over the disappearance of a Saudi businessman that was linked to the theft of Saudi royal jewelry.

The charges came a day after the Saudi charge d’affaires in Bangkok met with Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to seek an end to the bloody 20-year saga sparked by the theft of the gems from a Saudi prince’s palace.

The deaths of three Saudi diplomats, the wife and daughter of a jewelry dealer and Saudi businessman Mohamamad al-Ruwaily have all been linked to the case, which has soured relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia.

Lieutenant General Somkid Boonthanom, police commander of Thailand’s northern region, and four fellow officers had been indicted with the murder of al-Ruwaily in 1990, the office of the Thai attorney general said.

“Somkid and four accomplices were indicted today at the criminal court for premeditated murder, illegal detention and concealment of wrongdoing,” said Thanapich Mulapruk, a senior official at the attorney general’s office.

All five suspects denied the charges.

The court set March 29 as the opening date of the case, Thanapich said.

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