The Criminal Court on Monday dismissed a third gambling and money laundering charge against Somchai Jutikitdecha, also known as “Long Joo” Somchai.
The court said there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the charge against Mr Somchai, his company, and the other five defendants, which included Mr Somchai’s son as the last defendant.
Mr Somchai was arrested at his home in tambon Muang Phra in Rayong’s Muang district in February 2021 after police raided 10 locations in the eastern province to suppress an illegal gambling network.
He was also indicted for laundering an estimated 232.746 billion baht in the property market.
According to Monday’s hearing, in the court’s view, witness testimony had painted Mr Somchai as a loan shark, whereas the investigation into his financial situation had focused on income from illicit gambling.
Prosecutors also failed to present credible evidence to back up any of their allegations concerning the sources of the defendant’s wealth, so they dismissed the charges.
The prosecutors did, however, manage to specify how much money was sent to Warawut Worawutpreechawet and Napassorn Pruprong, the fifth and sixth defendants in the case, respectively, and both were charged with money laundering.
Somchai: Lack of evidence
Mr Somchai was also being prosecuted in connection with the alleged contract killing of motorcycle taxi rider Prathum Sa-adnak, 47, who was shot dead behind Muang Pattaya 8 School in Pattaya on July 28, 2020.
The Criminal Court dismissed this case on Nov 10 and Dec 22 of last year. However, those rulings are currently being appealed.