Alleged mastermind of Pattaya murder faces charges in Cambodia

Alleged mastermind of Pattaya murder faces charges in Cambodia

Toby James Nelham hides his face from the cameras after Cambodian immigration police arrested him in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. (Khmer Times photo)
Toby James Nelham hides his face from the cameras after Cambodian immigration police arrested him in Phnom Penh on Wednesday. (Khmer Times photo)

The alleged mastermind of the Kenway murder in Pattaya could first face several charges in Cambodia, following his arrest on Wednesday in Phnom Penh.

Ly Sophana, the deputy prosecutor and spokesman for the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, said on Wednesday Toby James Nelham was still being questioned at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.

“The prosecutor is now still questioning him and inspecting documents that have been confiscated from him,” the Khmer Times Thursday edition quoted him as saying.

“The prosecutor has not completed the questioning,” he added, without going into detail about the case.

A senior officer with the Interior Ministry’s immigration police, who asked not to be named, told the Khmer Times that  if Mr Nelham is charged and found guilty by a court in Cambodia, he must serve the term of his punishment in Cambodia.

“After completing his sentence, he would be immediately deported from Cambodia, if there was no request for his extradition from Thai police,” he said.

Mr Nelham, 44, was arrested by Cambodian immigration police in Phnom Penh on Wednesday and taken   to the court for questioning.

“He allegedly committed crimes in Thailand and fled to Cambodia,” Deputy National Police Commissioner Pol Gen Chhay Sinarith told the Khmer Times.

Cambodia’s General Commissariat of National Police recently received a report of a murder allegedly committed by foreign suspects in Pattaya who fled to  Cambodia, Pol Gen Sinarith said. However, Thai authorities had not requested Cambodia’s cooperation in arresting the suspects, he added.  

Kong Sarith, an officer with the Interior Ministry’s immigration police, said Mr Nelham was the chairman of Springtide International, which was based in Phnom Penh. with branches in Preah Sihanouk and Siem Reap provinces.

“He was arrested by Cambodian immigration police because he illegally entered Cambodia and illegally stayed and worked in the country,” he said.

“He is accused of illegally crossing the border and illegally entering Cambodia, staying in Cambodia without authorisation and working in Cambodia without legal documents.

“Besides this case here, he’s also involved in extorting money from businesspeople in Thailand and the murder of a British man in Pattaya last month. But he fled to Cambodia.”

A Thai police investigation linked Mr Nelham was linked to a group of four foreign nationals that included a Briton and a South African involved in the gangland-style killing of Tony Kenway, 39, in Pattaya last month, Mr Sarith said.

It was reported by Thai media on Saturday that Cambodian authorities were expected to hand over Mr Nelham to Thai authorities at the checkpoint in Khlong Yai district in Trat, but Cambodian police denied knowledge of the arrangement on Sunday.

According to Thai police sources quoted by the Bangkok Post, Mr Nelham is the alleged mastermind of the murder of Kenway, who was shot dead in broad daylight while sitting in the driver’s seat of his red Porsche Cayenne GTS outside a sports club in Bang Lamung district in Chon Buri on Jan 24.

Mr Nelham is a former business partner of Kenway and it is believed that a business conflict led to the murder, police said.

The two men wanted under warrants issued by the Pattaya court are South African national Abel Caldeira Bonito, 23, the suspected gunman, and British accomplice Miles Dicken Turner, 27, who allegedly rode the motorcycle that took the killer away from the murder scene.

The two fled to Cambodia on the same day as the murder.

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