After Early Release “Jack the Ripper of Thailand” Rearrested for Murder

Thai police officers escorted Somkid, second from right, after he was arrested at the Pak Chong train station in Nakhon Ratchasima province. [Photo credit: Royal Thai Police via AP]

Seven months after being released in May for good behavior, 55 year old Somkid Poompuang was rearrested earlier today after a nationwide manhunt was launched after he was identified as a primary suspect in a murder which had occurred on Sunday.


Dubbed "Jack the Ripper of Thailand" by the media, Poompaung was convicted of murdering five women in 2005 by either strangulation or drowning.  The women were reported to work as either masseuses or nightclub entertainers.  He had served 14 years of a life sentence.


According to the Bangkok Post, Poompuang had initially been eligible for the death penalty but was given a sentence of life in prison instead because he confessed to the five murders.


On Sunday, 51 year old  Rasamee Mulichand was found dead in her home with clear tape wrapped covering an electrical wire around her neck, a cell phone charging cable tied around her ankles, and her wrists bound.  Police additionally disclosed that she was found naked from the waist down, wrapped in a blanket.  Her cause of death was determined to be strangulation.


According to Police Colonel Khajornrit Wongrat, Mulichand "told her daughter and neighbours that she was going to marry the man on 15 December, which was the day she died. The boyfriend went missing on the day, too.”


According to police, the two had met through Facebook and Poompuang had convinced her that he was a lawyer.  It was the images that Mulichand had posted on her social media account which helped police determine the identity of their suspect.


Police released images of Poompuang and his details to the public.  They warned that he was a "dangerous man" and offered a 50,000 baht ($1,655) reward for information leading to his arrest.


A student couple traveling on a train towards Bangkok called police to say that he was sleeping in a seat near them.  Despite wearing a hat and a mask that covered the lower portion of his face, they were able to recognize him from the mark on his forehead.  Police boarded the train at a scheduled stop and took him into custody without incident.


The Corrections Department Chief, General Narat Sawettanan has said in a public statement that Poompuang's early release was the result of an error in the screening process which was in place to determine prisoners eligible for early release.  A committee has been appointed to determine a new policy for early release reviews.