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Phuket police arrest driver suspect in Patong tuk-tuk boss murder

PHUKET: Police say they have arrested the man who drove the motorbike used in the street slaying of Patong tuk-tuk boss Sakol Srisompotch in Kathu late last month.

tourism, patong, police, homicide, transport, death, crime,

Tanyaluk Sakoot

Monday 14 November 2016, 05:54PM

The 28-year-old suspect, who police declined to name, was taken into custody in the northern province of Mae Hong Song on Friday after a warrant for his arrest was issued on Oct 31, Kathu Police Deputy Chief Investigator Lt Col Amponwat Seangreung told The Phuket News today (Nov 14).

The suspect is now at Kathu Police Station, Col Amponwat confirmed.

“The driver was arrested in Wiang Nuea subdistrict, in the Pai district of Mae Hong Son province. We found him on Nov 11. He went there to marry his northern girlfriend,” he said.

He now faces the charge of conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to illegally obtaining a firearm and conspiracy to bringing a gun into a public area without permission, noted a Facebook post by Kathu Police today.

“He has denied the charges, but he is undergoing due process now anyway,” Col Amponwat told The Phuket News this afternoon.

Speaking briefly with The Phuket News today, Kathu Police Chief Col ML Pattanajak Jakkapan also declined to name the suspect.

“We have apprehended five suspects. That is all we can tell the media for now,” he said.

C and C Marine

Asked how many suspects were believed to be involved in the murder, Col ML Pattanajak said, “We might have more.”

Mr Sakol, 58, was shot dead in the early hours of Oct 25, when his assailants reportedly rode up on a motorbike in front of the Phuket Villa housing complex on Phra Phuket Kaew Rd in Kathu just before 3am and unloaded a hail of gunfire into the cab of Mr Sakol’s tuk-tuk. He died at the scene.

Mr Sakol was the President of the Patong Tuk-Tuk Club. His rival, Wattana “Dam” Nawakeaw, 38, who heads the “KT Tuk Tuk – Taxi Service” group now faces charges of conspiracy to murder Mr Sakol. (See story here.)

Wattana, along with 20 other drivers in his “group”, were operating in the same area of Patong where Mr Sakol operated. His arrest came quickly, and after police discovered a diary kept by Mr Sakol. (See story here.)

Police have also arrested 17-year-old male who police named only as “Thong” and by Nov 3 had a third suspect in custody.

With the driver now in custody, the “fourth suspect” arrested – with Col ML Pattanajak saying police have five in custody – remains a mystery with police not revealing any details of his or her arrest.

At last report, four suspects remained at large, including the gunman and the driver. It appears that three suspects now remain at large. (See story here.)



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