The accused killer, 47-year-old Maneenop Meethong, fatally shot Sarayuth Thinsathan and Toi Limpananurak when he opened fire at the market following a heated dispute with another vendor on Friday (Jan 7). Three others caught up in the incident were hospitalised.
Despite initially stating that he inteneded to turn himself into police, Maneenop fled Phuket and was believed to have taken a longboat to Coconut Island late on Friday.
It transpired that Maneenop had further fled to Hat Yai in his home province of Songkhla before he was arrested by officers from Songkhla Provincial Police Investigation Division Hat Yai Sub-Office around 6pm yesterday (Jan 8).
The officers had been tipped off that a suspect had alighted a boat at Ao Nang Beach in Krabi province before getting in a car and heading towards Songkhla. Officers from Police Region 8 and Phuket City investigators coordinated with the Provincial Police Region 9, Songkhla Provincial Investigation Unit, and used CCTV cameras to pinpoint Maneenop before was detained and taken to Hat Yai police station for questioning.
Officers from Phuket City Police Investigation Unit said they collected Maneenop from Hat Yai police station around 3:25am this morning and transported him back to Phuket to face charges at Phuket Provincial Court, a journey that they said took around seven hours.
According to initial reports from police, Maneenop confessed to the crime and pointed to prolonged depression and business struggles as the reasons. He admitted that he had experienced ongoing quarrels with fellow vendors in the shrimp trading business in addition to frequent arguments with his ex-wife, 48-year-old Kanchana Junthong.
However, Maneenop did not apologise to the families of those he had killed or injured.
Police stated that a press conference would be held sometime today although they did not specify an exact time or location.