Thai woman suspected of 13 cyanide killings charged with premeditated murder

Nontarat Phaicharoen
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Thai woman suspected of 13 cyanide killings charged with premeditated murder Sararat Rangsiwuthaporn, a suspect in more than a dozen murders, is escorted by law enforcement at a police station in Bangkok, April 25, 2023.
[Daily News handout via Reuters]

A woman who was arrested this week may have killed 13 people with cyanide, Thai police said Friday as they announced premeditated murder charges against her in two of the cases of lethal poisoning.

Sararat “Am” Rangsiwuthaporn, 36, who is pregnant, was arrested in Bangkok on Tuesday with a bottle of cyanide in her possession, after relatives of a female victim who had died in Ratchaburi province earlier this month filed a police report. 

Gen. Surachate Hakparn, the deputy national police chief, said that Sararat’s alleged victims were people to whom she owed money.

“We charged her with premeditated murders,” Surachate said. “Today, we have more solid evidence. She had trouble with money deals with people.”

The police’s forensic division confirmed traces of cyanide – a scentless and colorless deadly agent – in the body of Siriporn Khanwong, the victim who died in Ratchaburi on April 14, Surachate said. 

Upon Sararat’s arrest, her lawyer, Thannicha Eksuwannarat, said the police did not have solid evidence. Sararat is in custody at a Bangkok women’s prison, officials said. If found guilty, she faces the death sentence.

The alleged serial killings have gripped the nation and Sararat has been given the nickname “Am Cyanide.” Local media reported that she had procured cyanide through an online portal or from her pharmacist sister, stoking fear among the public about easy access to the deadly chemical.

After news emerged of Sararat’s arrest and the alleged mode of the killings, a dozen people filed police reports saying their loved ones who knew her had developed similar symptoms – black nails, dark lips and foaming at the mouth – before they died suddenly, apparently of heart failure.

Surachate said Sararat had possibly carried out murders in many provinces from 2020 onwards, with one known survivor.  

That person, Kantima Paesa-ard, told the police that Sararat borrowed 250,000 baht (U.S. $7316.6) in cash from her in September 2022, then sent her a herbal supplement that almost killed her when she consumed it. 

“She couldn’t breath and her hands seized up,” Surachate said Kantima told police.   

The husband of Sawitree Budsrirak, one of the victims, recalled the death of his wife. Sararat had borrowed more than 100,000 baht (U.S. $2927.3) from her. 

“She sent my wife diet pills. My wife bled from her mouth, her lips and nails became dark,” Police Sgt. Nitipon Nuchit, the husband, told reporters.       

Another woman, Chanrat Wongkraisin, from whom Sararat borrowed money, was allegedly poisoned last August.

“She died around the time Sararat had to repay the first installment of the debt,” Chanrat’s husband told reporters. 

“I’d never thought normal people would do such an inhumane thing.”


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