PHUKET GAZETTE

 

July 15, 2017 | 11:07 AM

Police hunt for suspects in murder of Krabi headman and family



National police chief Gen Chaktip Chaijinda, who is now in Krabi, refused to confirm whether any arrest has been made and said he will call a press conference ‘later’. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong National police chief Gen Chaktip Chaijinda, who is now in Krabi, refused to confirm whether any arrest has been made and said he will call a press conference ‘later’. Photo: Kritsada Mueanhawong
KRABI: Police are still searching for suspects involved in the murder of a village headman and his family on Tuesday.

Worayuth Sunglung, a village headman in Krabi’s Ao Luk district, and seven of his family members were gunned down at their home while three others survived with serious injuries (story here).

The only family member unscathed was Mr Worayuth’s three-month-old baby.

National police chief Gen Chaktip Chaijinda, who is now in Krabi, yesterday evening refused to confirm whether any arrest has been made and said he will call a press conference ‘later’.

The current investigation suggests that a stone-mill conflict may have led to the crime. Mr Worayuth reportedly received a huge sum of money from the developers but failed to win locals’ support for the project.

Based on the testimonies of survivors, the men broke into the house but did not immediately open fire. The bloody attack came after their negotiations with Mr Worayuth failed.

On condition of anonymity, a crime suppression police officer said records showed Mr Worayuth called his close friend, who is a stone-mill partner, at 9:30pm on Monday and talked for nearly 10 minutes.

“So, his close friend was definitely involved in the crime,” the officer said, without naming this person.

Some reports have mentioned that Chetdanai Thinphang-nga, an executive of the mill and Mr Worayuth’s childhood friend, has been summoned for questioning.

Police yesterday searched the homes of Mr Chetdanai and his uncle, Wipoj Thinphang-nga, a former president of the Ao Luk Tao Tambon Administration Organization. Mr Wipoj himself has reportedly survived several assassination attempts before.

A team assigned to review surveillance recordings has found that the vehicles used by the gang had headed toward the Southern Seaboard.

Police will reportedly search a location in Nakhon Sri Thammarat soon because the attackers were believed to have gone into hiding there.

An insider said the killers must have been a gang of debt collectors used to aggressive tactics.

“This gang has recruited rogue ex-soldiers. Those guys were armed,” he added. A source at the Central Police Forensic Science Division said all the bullets that hit victims in the massacre came from the same gun.

“And that gun very likely belongs to Mr Worayuth,” the source said. Four food boxes and bottles of water left at the crime scene were now being tested for DNA of the assailants, the police source added.

Four days after the crime, officers are standing 24/7 guard at the scene. Yesterday afternoon, two policemen reported an ‘eerie’ occurrence, saying that despite no one going in or out of the house, they heard sounds indicating that somebody was present in the house and searching for something.

However, they entered the house to find it empty. Regardless, two more officers have been added to guard the house in future.

Additional reporting by The Nation.