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Police investigate ramping up charge against Chinese husband for killing wife to murder

Police investigate ramping up charge against Chinese husband for killing wife to murder

PHUKET: Kamala Police today confirmed that they are looking into ramping up the charge against Chinese national Zhang Yifan, 31, to murder, for the death of his wife 29-year-old Zhang Jia, who died after he held her head underwater in a resort pool allegedly amid a heated argument.

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By The Phuket News

Thursday 20 December 2018, 04:22PM


After Zhang Yifan’s arrest in Phuket, the parents of his wife went public through a report in a newspaper in China to reveal that Zhang Yifan had taken out life insurance policies for his wife’s death amounting to more than B142 million baht in compensation. Photos: via The Paper

After Zhang Yifan’s arrest in Phuket, the parents of his wife went public through a report in a newspaper in China to reveal that Zhang Yifan had taken out life insurance policies for his wife’s death amounting to more than B142 million baht in compensation. Photos: via The Paper

The confirmation follows the lawyer representing the victim’s parents visiting Kamala Police on Monday (Dec 17).

The lawyer presented to police copies of the insurance policies and “other documents”, which police said they were not at liberty to discuss at this time.

After Zhang Yifan’s arrest in Phuket, the parents of his wife went public through a report in a newspaper in China (see here) to reveal that Zhang Yifan had taken out life insurance policies for his wife’s death amounting to more than B142 million baht in compensation.

“The lawyer visited me at Kamala Police Station on Monday, and presented some important documents related to the insurance and other matters,” Kamala Police Chief Col Somkid Boonrat confirmed to The Phuket News today (Dec 20).

The lawyer was to also present copies of the same policies to the Phuket Public Prosecutor's Office on Monday, he added.

“Zhang Jia’s parents will come to Kamala Police Station with extra information next week, which may affect the charge against Zhang,” he said.

“At present, Zhang Yifan 31, from Tianjin, is charged with murder* (sic) for the offence of causing death under Section 288 of the Criminal Code,” Col Somkid confirmed.

“If we discover more evidence that presents that Zhang Yifan planned to kill his wife, then we will change the charge to Section 289 of the Criminal Code, which is murder by premeditation*,” Capt Somkid explained.

Col Somkid declined to reveal any details of the documents already presented to police. “Sorry, we are not able to reveal that. It is important for the investigation,” he said.

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Meanwhile, Zhang Yifan remains incarcerated at Phuket Provincial Prison, Col Somkid confirmed.

“His trial has not actually started. He is being held there on remand,” Col Somkid clarified.

Police originally questioned Zhang Yifan on Oct 29 while investigating Zhang Jia’s death. The officers were responding to a report that his wife had drowned in the hotel pool and was later pronounced dead at Patong Hospital.

Zhang was allowed to leave Thailand on Oct 30 in order to take the couple’s 20-month-old daughter home, and returned to Phuket to collect his wife’s body.

Kamala Police suspicious of the circumstances of Zhang Jia’s death brought him back in questioning on Nov 2. That was when Zhang confessed to the killing. He was subsequently taken into custody and charged for her death. (See story here.)


* Section 288 of the Thai Criminal Code is often presented in translated versions as: “Whoever, murdering the other person, shall be punished by death or imprisoned as from fifteen years to twenty years.”

However, Section 289 (4) is also often presented as: “Whoever commits murder on: …The other person by premeditation”.

Hence Section 288 is often understood as a charge of “murder without premeditation”, which represents the Thai version of manslaughter.

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