14-year-old accused of killing Yala forestry official

14-year-old accused of killing Yala forestry official

Three suspects arrested in case that police say was personal, not part of southern unrest

Crash helmets, a pistol and other items used in the attack on a senior forestry official in Muang district of Yala on Dec 5 are shown during a  briefing on the arrest of three suspects, including a 14-year-old, the accused gunman. (Photo from @Krpoliceyala Facebook page)
Crash helmets, a pistol and other items used in the attack on a senior forestry official in Muang district of Yala on Dec 5 are shown during a briefing on the arrest of three suspects, including a 14-year-old, the accused gunman. (Photo from @Krpoliceyala Facebook page)

YALA: A 14-year-old boy stands accused of firing the shots that killed a senior forestry official in Yala, police said on Saturday after arresting all three suspects including the mastermind.

Authorities say the killing was planned by Arseesa Kamae, 34, a subordinate of the victim. She allegedly hired Treenaphat Suwanpathipat, 33, and the 14-year-old gunman whose name has been withheld. All three are in custody on charges of colluding in murder, illegal possession of a weapon and carrying it in a public place. 

Kowit Wangthaveesap, 53, a forestry specialist and chief of the Chulabhorn 7 project in Than Tho district of Yala, was gunned down in broad daylight by a motorcycle pillion ridder on a road in tambon Sateng in Muang district of the southern province on Dec 5.

Investigators who examined security video from the scene found that two motorcycles were involved in the attack, Pol Lt Gen Ronnasil Phusara, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 9, said at a briefing on Saturday.

One of the vehicles was ridden by a woman. It belonged to Ms Arseesa, an accountant who worked at the Chulabhorn 7 project. The other was driven by a man with a male pillion ridder firing shots at the victim, he said.

Investigators subsequently called Ms Arseesa in for questioning. During interrogation, she admitted she was the person seen riding the motorcycle in the video. 

The officers later found the other vehicle was ridden by Mr Treenaphat. When they questioned him, he admitted he rode the second bike and implicated the 14-year-old boy as the triggerman, officers said.

Mr Treenaphat later took police to two houses in Raman district where clothes, crash helmets and the motorcycles used during the attack were kept. The bikes had been disassembled. The weapon — a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol — was hidden near a well behind another house in the same district. The pistol had belonged to Ms Arseesa’s late brother-in-law.

Pol Lt Gen Ronnasil said the fatal attack was motivated by a personal conflict and had nothing to do with the southern unrest. Ms Arseesa reportedly had been seeking a promotion at work but was disappointed.

The three suspects were taken for a crime re-enactment on Saturday.

Police on Saturday announce the arrest of three suspects involved in the Dec 5 slaying of a forestry official in Yala. (Photos by Yala police station @Krpoliceyala Facebook page)


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