The manhunt is on for escaped prisoner, Chaowalit Thongduang, known as Sia Paeng Nanod, who was serving a 20-year jail term for attempted murder. A special military unit skilled in dense forest navigation has joined the relentless search. Believed to be hiding in the thickly forested Banthad mountain range in Trang province, the pursuit continues unabated despite harsh weather conditions.
Experts from Naresuan Camp, bestowed with the responsibility to navigate the tough terrains of Phetchaburi province, have arrived at Trang to aid in the search. The hunt was initially spearheaded by over thirty motorcycling officers from Trang provincial police, who have fearlessly navigated through tricky terrains and inclement weather conditions. Officers from the border provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat have also joined the search efforts, forming a formidable force.
With a single-minded focus to re-capture the escapee, authorities have undertaken arduous foot expeditions in the mountainous region which are practically inaccessible by vehicles. The local populace, typically seen foraging for food in the forested area, has been requested to steer clear of the areas of operations to ensure their safety and for the smooth conduct of the manhunt.
Evidence suggests the possible connivance of certain residents in aiding Chaowalit, leading to the issue of warrants and subsequent house-to-house searches. The search operations recently led to a possible accomplice, Kasidchart, a cousin of Chaowalit. His mobile phones are being examined to ascertain any form of communication that links him to the escapee.
The elusive Chaowalit secured his break for freedom from the Maharat Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital. His purported leg pain led him to a hospital admission during his dental treatment, a perfect getaway cover. Not deterred by his leg chains and restraints, Chaowalit made his daring escape.
Chaowalit was serving time for his attempted murder charges, with numerous criminal charges pending including murder. His flight has been marked by a gruesome shootout with the police at his hideout nestled in the mountainous region of Trang. Together with his unidentified group, reports suggest that war weapons and a massive arsenal of more than 600 ammunition rounds were at their disposal.
Chaowalit, sentenced last year by the Phatthalung Provincial Court for an attempted murder, was initially interned at the Phatthalung Prison. The attack on the police, an attempted abduction case recorded on Sept 2, 2019, saw him transfer to the Nakhon Si Thammarat Prison on Aug 7, the same year.
While the manhunt is being organized on a war footing, there is a palpable reassurance that the authorities are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that justice is served.