The suspects – including 26-year-old Mr Tharapong Nebbua of Phatthalung's Paphayom district who was named as the shooter, and Mr Yuranun Thongpantae, 27, of Phatthalung's muang district as the getaway motorbike driver – were snatched up by police at 4am at a house near Tesco Lotus Chalong.
The arrests follow a swift manhunt after police were initially alerted at 1.15am this morning of a shooting on Patak Rd, about 500 metres from the Chalong traffic circle.
Police arrived at the scene, where they found the lifeless body of the male victim face down in a pool of blood in the middle of the road and surrounded by hesterically crying relatives, and dozens of onlookers.
The victim was identified as Mr Apiwat Sriphet, 29, a Trang native who lived at a house on Soi Nakok in Chalong and worked at a hotel in Karon.
Witnesses told police that before being shot, Mr Apiwat had run away from a brawl at a drinking establishment nearby and was pleading for help before two asailants on motorbike caught up and shot Apiwat several times in his upper torso.
Rescue workers and police confirmed that the victim had four bullet wounds under his armpit before the body was transferred to Vachira Phuket Hospital for further examination.
It is understood that prior to the brawl, Mr Apiwat had been drinking and socializing for several hours at the "Plern @ Chalong" night entertainment establishment with three friends.
Witnesses said that at one point an altercation occured between Mr Apiwat's group and group of "juveniles" at another table.
The altercation escalated into an all-out brawl in front of the establishment, and witnesses said that Mr Apiwat, realizing he was outmanned, fled from the scene to seek help from any one of the dozens of night revellers looking on.
However, his desperate escape was to no avail as the two assailants on motorbike caught up and fired point blank by what has been described as a Thai handcrafted gun (Peun Thai Pradit).