PETALING JAYA: A former bomb disposal expert has been arrested in south Thailand for allegedly shooting dead a Malaysian businessman and wounding his Thai wife last December in Songkhla’s Hat Yai district.
The suspect had been hiding at a house in Surat Thani’s Phunphin district, The Nation reported.
On Dec 4, Malaysian businessman Lee Ah Han, 54, and his Thai wife, Mayuree Thipmanee, 42, were driving through Tambon Ban Pru to Hat Yai Airport in a Mercedes Benz when two gunmen in another car opened fire at them.
Lee was killed and Mayuree injured.
Police investigators believe that the shooting stemmed from a property conflict and an attempt to clear 100 million bahts in debt borrowed to purchase land.
Police said the suspect confessed to shooting Lee with an M16 rifle in exchange for 700,000 bahts.
Police investigation identified the shooter as Ekkapol Inkaew, 47, a former master sergeant with the 3rd Class under the Fourth Army Region, who has expertise in guns and explosives.
The newspaper said following a tip-off that Ekkapol was living in a house in Tambon Tha Kham with his girlfriend, a team of 20 crime-suppression officers raided the house at 6am yesterday to capture him.
Later, Maj-General Charn Wimonsri, acting commissioner of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), presented Ekkapol to the press along with a 9mm pistol and 25 bullets.
He said the court had also issued arrest warrants for six suspects in the case. They are Apichon Saelow, 47, who reportedly paid 1.4 million bahts for the attack; alleged shooter Ekkapol; alleged scout driver Yutthasak Klamak; alleged getaway driver Chinnapat Piatakthai; and two alleged accomplices, Nongyao Chamninuan and Thanadech Ngiantan.
CSD superintendent Police Colonel Sompong Suwanwong said Nongyao had been arrested on Dec 19, Apichon had surrendered and declared his innocence, and Ekkapol was arrested yesterday. The remaining suspects are still at large.
He said police were gathering evidence to seek an arrest warrant for another man, Malaysian Tan Wun Gen, 28, to help in investigations.