He said he needed money to pay for tuition for his younger sister.
At a press conference this afternoon, Phuket Provincial Police said that not long after the two stabbings, at 3 and 3:30 am yesterday, they had been able to catch seven out of a total of nine suspects; the other two had managed to evade capture so far.
The seven – all underage both girls and boys aged between 15 and 17 – have been charged with armed robbery using a vehicle at night, and with attempted murder.
They presented to the press only the self-confessed knife man, Ekawat “Ek” Nilaku, 20, the confessed knifeman. He is the only one over 18.
Friends of one of the victims were also present at the press conference to identify Ek.
Ek told police that, leading up to the attacks, he had joined a group of nine youths who had left Koh Sireh on four motorbikes and headed Kata and Karon to seek tourists to rob.
When they arrived at the area in front of the Hilton Hotel along Karon beach, they saw their first target, a 44-year-old Italian, riding pillion on a motorbike driven by Inna Sifonova, 28, from Russia.
After kicking them off the bike, the gang proceeded to rob the tourists. When the Italian resisted, Ek stabbed him twice in the abdomen. The gang grabbed an Acer netbook, a mobile phone, HK$ 6,000, B500, the Italian's passport and a black purse, and rode off.
The gang then split into two groups, with seven suspects on three motorbikes heading back to Chalong and Ek along with one of the minors heading back towards Kata beach.
When they came to the area in front of The Surf House (near the Karon Municipality) they spotted three Russian girls who were taking photos with their mobile phones.
Ek and his accomplice parked their bike and proceed to attempt to mug a phone from Sofya Tolstova, 22. Again their victim resisted, and again Ek used his knife, stabbing her in the chest before grabbing her phone and fleeing with his accomplice.
Neither Ms Sifonova nor Ms Tostova was badly hurt but the Italian underwent an operation yesterday to patch up his wounds. He also had his spleen removed. He is recovering.