Couple's accused killer to be repatriated

Couple's accused killer to be repatriated

Accused in double murder in Cambodia

Cambodian police have sent this photo to their Thai counterparts to confirm the arrest on Wednesday of double-murder suspect Panya Yingdung as he tried to cross the border into Vietnam. (Photo courtesy Royal Thai Police)
Cambodian police have sent this photo to their Thai counterparts to confirm the arrest on Wednesday of double-murder suspect Panya Yingdung as he tried to cross the border into Vietnam. (Photo courtesy Royal Thai Police)

The families of a young couple murdered in broad daylight at Buddha Mountain in Chon Buri are looking forward to seeing the accused mastermind punished to the full extent of the law.

The mothers of Anantachai Jaritram and Paweena Namuangrak expressed their feelings after learning that fugitive Phuket club owner Panya Yingdung, 39, had been arrested in Cambodia and would soon be handed over to Thai police.

Speaking at their respective homes in Tha Khanto district in Kalasin, they said they were happy the wanted man had been caught and was being brought to justice.

"I don't want to see him kneel down and ask for forgiveness for what he has done," said Jomsri Chompoopuen, the mother of 21-year-old Anantachai.

Wanphen Namuangrak, the mother of Paweena, 20, felt the same way. "I won't forgive him for what he has done," Ms Wanphen said. "I'm happy to see he's been arrested. I hope the police will do their best in this case," she added.

Anantachai and Paweena died in a hail of bullets fired by two gunmen in a parking lot on Khao Chee Chan, the famous Buddha Mountain, in Sattahip district of Chon Buri province on July 29.

A police investigation pointed to Mr Panya being the mastermind and one of the shooters. The motive is believed to have been jealousy and vengeance as Paweena had previously worked in his club and was said to be his "favourite girl".

Better known as Sia Uan in Phuket, Mr Panya was arrested on Wednesday in Prey Veng province. He was believed to be making his way to Vietnam.

His pickup truck was previously found abandoned near the Cambodian border in Sa Kaeo province after the double murder.

Pol Maj Gen Piyapan Pingmuang, police deputy spokesman, confirmed Thursday that the suspect had been captured, but did not specify when Cambodian authorities would hand him over.

Police were in contact with Cambodian authorities and arrangements were being made, he said. Because of the good relations between the two countries, the detained suspect should arrive "soon" in Thailand, he added.

Pol Maj Gen Piyapan refused to disclose which route the suspect took when he fled Thailand, saying only that those who assisted his escape would face legal action as well.

Further details about the detention of Mr Panya will be disclosed later when he is in police custody, he said.

However, Pol Gen Suchat Theerasawat, an inspector, said Mr Panya was being brought by land from Prey Veng to the border in Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo for the handover, according to a report on Jor Sor 100, a radio station.

Following media reports about the detention of Mr Panya in Cambodia, a throng of journalists and cameramen were seen waiting for him Thursday at the immigration checkpoint in Aranyaprathet.

Nevertheless, Thai immigration officials at the checkpoint said they had not been contacted by their Cambodian counterparts about the suspect being deported from Cambodia to Thailand via that crossing.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda was expected to call a press conference today to announce the arrest of Mr Panya and offer more details about the case, according to a Thursday media report.

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