The assault resulted from a land mortgage conflict between Mr Worayut and suspected mastermind Surikfat Bannopwongsakul, aka Bang Fath, in which Mr Worayut allegedly threatened to shoot Surikfat, city police chief investigator Maj Gen Itthipol Atchariyapradit said yesterday (July 17).
The 41-year-old suspect, who is being detained at the 15th Infantry Battalion in Krabi’s Khlong Thom district, claimed Mr Worayut tried to attack him, but he did not report it to police.
“This accusation must be verified,” Maj Gen Itthipol said.
According to the investigation, their conflict began in 2009-2011 when Mr Worayut “mortgaged” his father-in-law’s land and his properties with Surikfat to seek loans worth B1.3 million under a consignment land sale contract. Last year Mr Worayut returned the money to Surikfat to reclaim his land rights but was rejected by the lender who claimed the mortgage period was up.
Mr Worayut later took the issue to the Krabi Provincial Court, suing Surikfat for cheating, after finding Surikfat allegedly used his land title deeds to seek another mortgage. The episode angered Mr Worayut, allegedly causing them to exchange death threats. Surikfat has run a loan business in Krabi since he resigned as a revenue official from tambon Baan Klang in the province.
His conflict with Mr Worayut was behind his decision to kill the village headman, police say. The suspect had told police he wanted to make it appear as if Mr Worayut had suffered a mental breakdown and shot his family out of his failure to settle his debts. He had watched suspense murder movies with similar themes designed to keep police off the track.
So far Surikfat has insisted that he alone pulled the trigger at the house in Ao Luek district, which was raided by eight suspects, including him. However, according to a police officer close to the investigation, his wife is believed to be another mastermind. Officers who questioned her said she may have set up the murder plot.
She is also believed to have told her younger brother, Phaisan Chamnong, to take the white Toyota Yaris from her husband and his gang after they used the car to escape the massacre scene, the officer said. The car was driven by some of the suspects as they fled to Nakhon Sri Thammarat.
This contradicts Mr Phaisan’s account because he told the media that Surikfat drove the car to his house in Nakhon Sri Thammarat, asking him to exchange his pickup truck for the Toyota Yaris as he wanted the truck to transport goods. The Yaris was later seized by police.
Investigators have detained a total of nine suspects – eight who raided Mr Worayut’s compound and one other man who owns a Toyota Fortuner also allegedly used by the suspects as they escaped, according to a police source. Among the eight suspects, who wore camouflage outfits, was a woman who was not in Mr Worayut’s house during the murders but allegedly helped the gang by buying food and water for the attackers and the victims.
One raider, identified only as Chak, 37, is a close aide of Surikfat. He told police he had been hired by Surikfat to collect debts at Mr Worayut’s house and was asked to join him again last Monday (July 10).
He admitted he called the other victims into the house so neighbours wouldn’t notice anything amiss.
“But I never thought anything bad would happen until I heard the first gun shot,” he said.
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