Indonesia is to deport a fugitive to Thailand who is wanted on murder and drug trafficking charges

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — One of Thailand's most wanted fugitives will be escorted home on a Thai air force plane after being arrested on Indonesia’s tourist island of Bali following months on the run in connection with several killings and drug trafficking charges in his homeland, officials said Monday.

Chaowalit Thongduang escaped from detention in Thailand while being treated at a hospital. When he was detained Thursday, he was using a fake Indonesian national identity card which he received shortly after arriving in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh in December after a 17-hour speedboat trip from India, said Wahyu Widada, head of the Indonesian National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department.

Chaowalit was arrested in a raid at his apartment in Badung regency in Bali. Authorities seized four cellphones from him along with several fake identity documents.

“We are still investigating local residents who helped issue Chaowalit’s fake identity,” Widada said.

Thai Minister of Justice Tawee Sodsong, who traveled to Indonesia to meet with Chaowalit, said he will be flown on a military plane Tuesday to Thailand, where he is wanted in the murder or attempted murder of police officers and others and drug trafficking.

Tawee said Chaowalit praised the authorities for being able to trace him after he fled through several countries.

Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said he was confident that the legal system which apprehended Chaowalit could bring him to justice.

Indonesia and Thailand signed an extradition agreement in 1978.


Associated Press writer Napat Kongsawad in Bangkok contributed to this report.