Officers from the Patong Police, military personnel from the Royal Thai Army Region 5 and local officials raided the Pum Pui bar in search of the 39 year-old owner Panya ‘Sia Auan’ Yingdang.
Panya is wanted on murder charges after the Pattaya Court yesterday (July 31) approved a warrant for his arrest for the murder of Paveena Namuang, 20, and Anantachai Jaritrum, 21.
Miss Paveena and Mr Jaritrum were shot dead by assailants who opened fire on their car in a parking lot at the popular Khao Chee Chan (Buddha Mountain) in Sattahip District of Chonburi province on Sunday.
A total of seven shots were fired into their vehicle, killing both of them.
The Pattaya Court yesterday also issued arrest warrants for Jeerasak Unaiban and Sayant Srisook in connection with the double homicide.
Police and the armed military personnel arrived at the Pum Pui bar last night to find the bar filled with tourists and a host of coyote dancers, reported the Patong Police.
The bar had more than 30 “staff” present at the time of the raid.
During a search of the premises, Jarupak Nantana, 29, identified herself as the manager.
As the business was found to be operating without a licence, Ms Jarupak was taken to Patong Police Station and charged accordingly.
It was not explained how the authorities had failed to notice that a bar in the heart of Patong’s busiest nightlife street had been overlooked and managed to keep trading without a licence.
Patong Police Chief Col Anothai Jindamanee explained to the press that Panya operated two night venues in Patong, the other being ‘The Night Pub’, which Ms Jarupak explained was already closed due to lack of customers at this time of year.
Police are in the process of obtaining warrants to search two houses in Patong that Panya owns.
Officers had already staked out both houses, but they were ‘silent’, Col Anothai said.
ON THE RUN
Of the three wanted for the murders, Sayant Srisook was arrested yesterday and was taken for a crime re-enactment today, reports the Bangkok Post. (See story here.)
Police believed he had kept his boss, Panya, informed of the movements of Paveena and her boyfriend, before the businessman allegedly approved the murder.
Investigators pointed to jealousy as a possible motive after they found out that Miss Paveena worked at an entertainment venue run by Panya in Phuket, and that “she was his favourite”.
Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Chalermkiat Srivorakhan said investigators were still uncertain who had pulled the trigger.
Meanwhile, Panya and Jeerasak remain at large.
However, a pickup truck bearing Phuket number plates and later confirmed to be registered to Panya was found abandoned on a road in Muang District in Sa Kaeo Province earlier today (Aug 1), confirmed Sa Kaeo Muang Police Superintendent Col Pirom Chantrapirom.
The location of the vehicle supports the police’s theory that Panya was trying to flee to Cambodia.
Sa Kaeo Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Surajit Kingnawan has ordered all police stations along the border to keep a watch out for the suspect and other vehicles he owned.
A CRIMINAL THRIVES IN PATONG
Before Sunday’s murders, Panya was already involved in shooting dead a Thai man in the staircase of an apartment building in Patong which was used as a residence for staff from the Pum Pui bar in November last year.
Panya turned himself in to Patong Police at 5am on Nov 18 for shooting dead Amporn Suksawat, 47, in what Panya told police was an “ongoing dispute”.
According to the police report, Patong Police investigator Maj Teerasak Boonsaeng was notified of the shooting by the Kusoldharm Foundation at 6:10am.
Police arrived at the scene to find Mr Amporn’s body learning against the wall of the staircase on the 4th floor of the apartment building, located on on Soi Sukcharoen, off Phra Metta Rd.
Mr Amporn’s body was taken to Patong Hospital for further examination, but the police report confirmed that he had been shot once in the right clavicle.
It should also be noted that from photos that The Phuket News was provided, Mr Amporn was in possession of a flick knife at the time of confrontation. (See story here.)
Yet Panya first came to the attention of The Phuket News five years ago, when he was arrested in a series of raids by police in Patong. He was named among those caught selling pirated copyright goods, including sneakers, handbags, purses and wallets with brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
At the time police also reported others arrested for operating night venues and selling alcohol past the legal time. (See story here.)