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After 10 years, suspect arrested for Phuket tourist business attack, arson

After 10 years, suspect arrested for Phuket tourist business attack, arson

PHUKET: A man wanted for his role in the assault of a security guard and arson of a snake show and health nutriments business on Sai Ta-iad, Chalong, in 2012 has been arrested in Bangkok and brought to Phuket to face charges.

crimeviolencetourismpolice
By Eakkapop Thongtub

Thursday 26 January 2023, 10:27AM


Surachai Thongklip, 42, and his lawyer at Chalong Police Station yesterday (Jan 25). Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Surachai Thongklip, 42, and his lawyer at Chalong Police Station yesterday (Jan 25). Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

Surachai Thongklip, 42, was arrested in Bang Krabue Community 14 of Dusit District, Bangkok, at 8pm on Tuesday (Jan 24).

He was taken to Crime Suppression Division Sub-Division 1 headquarters for processing before being brought to Phuket.

Surachai was presented for questioning by Chalong Police at 5pm yesterday (Jan 25). Through his lawyer, Surachai denied any involvement in the crime.

Chalong Police Deputy Chief Lt Col Somkiat Sarasit, who heads the Chalong Police Investigation division, has been assigned Surachai’s case.

Lt Col Somkiat said police were continuing their investigation and collecting evidence in order to formally charge Surachai.

Surachai was one of three men wanted for the assault and arson at the popular tourism business ‘Phuket Healthy Nutriment’ in Soi Ta-iad in 2012.

Crime Suppression Division police arrested Suwan Thongpermploy and Yuttana Karmasom in early 2016.

Both of them testified to the Crime Suppression Division police that a former female inspector under the Tourist Police and her husband both masterminded the crime.

Thai Residential

The former Tourist Police inspector and her husband were summoned by police, but the Phuket Provincial Prosecutor’s Office decided not to pursue charges.

The assault and arson occurred on April 23, 2012. The security guard, 25-year-old Anuchit Chaitongngam, was found tied up and unconscious in front of Phuket Healthy Nutriment, a tourist attraction on Soi Ta-iad that stages snake shows and sells herbal products.

Mr Anuchit was knocked unconscious in the attack, recorded by CCTV showing four masked men involved in the crime. He suffered serious injury to his head and was taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital for treatment.

CCTV footage showed that after disabling the guard, the four men broke into the building and set fire to several parts of it.

The fire caused an estimated B20 million in damage to the reception area, herb shops and various pieces of furniture.

After interviewing the owner and staff of Phuket Healthy Nutriment, police said they believed a business conflict with a competitor was probably behind the arson attack.

At that time, the company had already been serving tourists for almost 20 years, attracting more than 500 tourists a day, most of them Chinese.

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