‘Leader’ of Phuket double murder gang caught
PHUKET: Police today arrested the alleged leader of the gang who murdered Urai Chucheun and Somporn Kamkerd in Phuket on May 31 this year.
Wednesday 20 July 2011, 10:33AM
The arrested man was named as Sorae Wongsa’ad, one of five suspects who eluded police investigating the killings.
He was caught in his home town of Ao Luk, Krabi, after police received a complaint from an underage girl, accusing him of raping her.
At this point, local police – who had already received a copy of the arrest warrant for him on the Phuket double murder charge – woke up to the fact that he was in the area, arrested him and handed him over to the Tah Chat Chai police in Phuket.
The Phuket News understands that police believe Sorae was the leader of the gang, and the person who ordered the killings, but a police source said that the suspect has so far denied any wrongdoing, saying that he was only peripherally involved.
Mrs Urai and Mr Somporn were beaten and then shot dead during an argument over a drug debt.
After the murders, the two were taken in a pick-up truck and dumped on a steep hillside near the Andaman White Breach Hotel in Naithon.
The owner of the truck, Mrs Urai’s husband, Sanit Chucheun, was also beaten but escaped being shot by playing dead. He was also dumped, but after the gang left he managed to get to the hotel and raise the alarm.
Two members of the gang were arrested on June 3. The two, Sitthipong Jaruenrak – who allegedly pulled the trigger – and Amarin Panthip – who supposedly drove the pick-up – are currently awaiting trial.
After his arrest, Sorae told police that he was not the leader of the gang; his “gik” at that time, Pairin “Joom” Yamtin, was. After the killings he fled with her to Phi Phi, then Lanta, and then Ranong, where they split up and he headed home to Ao Luk.
He added that he now believes Joom “used” him in an effort to recover a debt from Urai and Sanit. He said it was she who ordered the killings when the debt recovery meeting went all wrong.
Police believe they should soon be able to locate and arrest Joom. They said they are also closing in on the other three gang members, who all come from Thalang.