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  1. Alfa
    Suspected drug dealer fakes SARS death
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    May 22 2003 at 08:12AM </TD></TR>
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    Bangkok - A suspected heroin trafficker in Thailand faked his own death from Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), leading a court to close his case, but it wasn't long before police found him alive and well at a beach resort.

    Now 38-year-old Kormard Prappram not only faces drug trafficking charges but is also accused of fraudulently obtaining an official document, The Nation newspaper reported on Thursday.

    Kormard was first arrested in the southern beach resort of Krabi in August 2002 on charges of possessing heroin with intent to sell, but was released on bail.

    Soon afterward Kormard enlisted a friend's help in informing authorities that he had died of a heart attack, but the ploy failed as the friend had no death certificate to back the claim.

    When SARS hit the headlines last month, Kormard again got his friend to tell the authorities that he had died, this time of the virus while on the way to a hospital.

    The friend got a village headman to sign a document confirming the death by showing him photographs of Kormard's purported funeral. Using the document, the friend obtained a death certificate from district officials, and subsequently got the court case terminated, said The Nation.

    But police later learned that Kormard was hiding in Krabi where he was arrested this week.

    The friend also was arrested and charged with conspiring to fake Kormard's death.

    It was not clear what punishment the two men face.

    The newspaper gave no other details, and police in Krabi were not immediately available for comment. - Sapa-AP </TD></TR></T></TABLE>

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