A Bangkok, Thailand woman accused of murdering at least 14 people with cyanide had a prodigious gambling habit, police said Friday.
Investigators believe this could explain why Sararat “Aem” Rangsiwuthaporn, 32, was allegedly so hungry for cash that she was prepared to kill friends and acquaintances to get her hands on it.
Sararat, who is five months pregnant, was arrested on April 25 following the suspicious death of her friend, Siriporn Khanwong. Investigators learned the two women had traveled together to Ratchaburi to release fish at a pier as part of a Buddhist protection ritual.
When Siriporn suddenly collapsed and died at the riverbank, Sararat left the scene rather than join bystanders in trying to help her friend.
Police found that cash, two phones, and a designer bag belonging to Siripon were missing, and an autopsy found traces of cyanide in her body. A bottle of cyanide was found during a search of Sararat’s home.
Married to Senior Policeman
Soon, more witnesses came forward to say their relatives had died suspiciously shortly after meeting with Sararat. One woman who had loaned her money said she became ill after taking “cough medicine” supplied by Sararat when the pair were shopping.
Sararat is also suspected of killing an ex-boyfriend, Suthisak Poonkwan, and three female police officers.
Sararat’s husband, Vitoon Rangsiwuthaporn, is a high-ranking policeman who has been charged with fraud and embezzlement in relation to the murders. He allegedly picked up his wife in his car after she allegedly killed Suthisak. He denies any knowledge of the murders.
The case of a pregnant woman suspected of being one of the country’s most prolific serial killers has gripped Thailand.
On Friday, at a press conference in Bangkok, Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, the deputy national police chief, revealed the extent of Sararat’s gambling activities. Surachate said that she regularly engaged with online gambling sites, which are illegal in Thailand.
Since 2020, Sararat plowed 78 million Bhat (US$2.3 million) into the sites, gambling as much as 10 million Bhat (US$290,000) per day.
Police believe the killings began in 2020 and span several provinces, but most occurred in west Bangkok. Known victims were wealthy and aged between 22 and 45. They were targeted, befriended, and then murdered by Sararat, who would slip cyanide pills into their food and drink, or offer the pills as herbal medicine, investigators claim.
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