Spanish murder suspect caught in Cambodia

Suspect in murder of man whose body parts found floating in Chao Phraya river arrested in Cambodia. Helicopter sent to expedite suspect's return.

CRIME & TOURISM

Spanish murder suspect caught in Cambodia

8 Feb 2016
AGENCIES & BANGKOK POST

A Spanish man who is the prime suspect in the gruesome murder of a fellow Spaniard was arrested in Cambodia, where he is believed to have fled after the victim's dismembered body was recovered piece by piece from the Chao Phraya River, police said on Monday.

The suspect, identified as Artur Segarra Princep, 36, was arrested on Sunday evening at a restaurant in the Cambodian coastal town of Sihanoukville where he had checked into a guesthouse a few days earlier.

Trat authorities escort Artur Segarra Princep, a Spanish murder suspect. (Immigration Bureau photo)

HELICOPTER SENT TO CAMBODIA FOR SPEEDY EXTRADITION

"We received a request from Thai police to arrest this man, and after launching an investigation we found him,'' said Cambodian police. "We will hand him over to Thailand.''

Thai police reportedly sent a helicopter to Cambodia on Monday to try to expedite the suspect's return.

Matichon Online reported that national police chief Gen Chakthip Chaichinda was waiting to arrest him at the Police Aviation Division at Km 4 on Ram Intra road.

Murder suspect Artur Segarra Princep, 36, sitting alone after his arrest in Cambodia waiting to be taken back to Thailand by Thai authorities.

VICTIM'S IDENTITY

Thai police have identified the murder victim as David Bernat, 40, of Spain, who was described as a consultant.

Bernat was working as an adviser to a foreign company and had travelled through Thailand 271 times over the past decade, mostly to Myanmar. The most recent visit was on Jan 19 when he arrived in Bangkok from Tehran.

ABDUCTED, TORTURED & FORCED TO TRANSFER MONEY

Police speculated that Bernat was abducted, tortured and forced to transfer a large amount of money before being killed.

Police have confirmed that the seven human body parts found in the Chao Phraya River belong to Bernat. Fingerprints taken from the dismembered hand matched prints belonging to Bernat.

The body parts, including a head, hand, torso, feet and parts of a leg, were found in several locations in the river in Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi over the past week.

REPORTED MISSING, KEPT CAPTIVE BEFORE DEATH

Bernat was reported missing from Nantiruj Tower in Sukhumvit Soi 8 in Klong Toey where he had stayed since Jan 20.

He was last seen riding a motorcycle from the apartment he was staying at on the night of Jan 20.  Bernat's relatives reported him missing to police in Spain after they could not get in touch with him.

Police reportedly found a keycard inserted in the door of Bernat's room (but never removed) on the 10th floor of the apartment when the police team arrived to search the apartment.

Police searched the room and found money transfer documents showing Bernat had made several transactions to people in Thailand, Spain and Singapore.

Police believe, based on an initial investigation, that Bernat was detained somewhere and "coerced into doing something" before he was killed, cut into parts and then dumped into the river.

Forensic results showed no food was found in Bernat's stomach, suggesting that he might not have eaten for a couple of days before he was killed.   

Forensic officials believed that he was killed between Jan 25 and 27, several days after he was last seen.

Rescue workers for several days recovered body parts spotted by people along the Chao Phraya river, now identified as the body of murder victim 40-year old Spanish tourist David Bernat (inset).

FOLLOWING THE MONEY TRAIL

Police had obtained records showing that the suspect Mr Segarra had withdrawn money from ATM machines in the Surin area as recently as Thursday.

Immigration police said the alleged murderer Segarra has visited Thailand frequently, but his latest visa expired late last year. Records also show that Mr Bernat also visited Thailand many times, arriving most recently on Jan 19 on a flight from Iran.

Mr Bernat was last seen alive leaving his Bangkok apartment on Jan 20.

Medical examiners said they believe the cause of death was suffocation.

Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn, Immigration Bureau chief, has got Cambodian agreement to help search for murder suspect Artur Segarra Princep (top right) while detectives question the Spaniard's girlfriend. (Photos courtesy Royal Thai Police)

SUSPECT'S GIRLFRIEND TAKEN IN FOR QUESTIONING

Police had earlier taken Pritsana Saen-ubol, 22, Mr Segarra's girlfriend, from Surin province to Bangkok for questioning. 

According to her accounts, she and Mr Segarra were in a karaoke bar together in Surin, but he sped away on his motorcycle when his photo appeared on the TV news. Mr Segarra's motorcycle was later found abandoned at the Thai border in Surin on Feb 6.

During questioning on Saturday night, the girlfriend told police her boyfriend probably did kill David Bernat, the 40-year-old Spanish businessman, whose body parts were found in the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok last Wednesday.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/crime/855956/spanish-murder-suspect-caught-in-cambodia

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Writer: Jon Fernquest
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