A suspected child murderer who was elevated to folk hero status by tabloid media turned himself in Wednesday morning at national police headquarters after an arrest warrant was issued in his name.
Chaipol Vipha, celebrated in over a year of breathless coverage as “Uncle Pol,” is behind bars in Bangkok after a Mukdahan provincial court approved his arrest last night as a suspect in the death of his 3-year-old niece.
The warrant listed three charges: abducting a minor, abandoning a child resulting in death, and interfering with evidence.
The police said Wednesday afternoon that Chaiphol had denied the charges and would be flown to Mukdahan, according to media reports.
Chaipol’s rise to fame began soon after he was fingered by family members as the prime suspect in the death of his niece Orawan “Chompoo” Wongsricha in the northeastern province.
Chompoo was found dead without her clothes in the woods 5 kilometers from home in May 2020. Her mother believed the Chaipol was responsible.
A turning point came when forensic examiners recently found multiple strands of Chompoo’s hair in Chaipol’s car. They also disclosed that hair from a close relative was found at the scene of her death.
His life quickly became a human interest story, and, within months, his home turned into a tourist attraction. He was soon singing and dancing alongside famous country singers in music videos and presiding over corporate events as a kind of VIP.
He made many paid event appearances and launched a YouTube channel that within weeks was watched millions of times and today has 332,000 subscribers. Donations poured in from his fans.
But he continued to display erratic behavior that cost him some of his glow and support, such as when he assaulted a reporter in January.
In his most recent video posted yesterday, a dejected-looking Chaipol licks durian from his fingers as his wife encourages viewers to visit their shop.