Suspect denies killing couple in Taiwan

Suspect denies killing couple in Taiwan

Santi Supa-apiradeepailin, 35, is seen in Chiang Mai. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Santi Supa-apiradeepailin, 35, is seen in Chiang Mai. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The prime suspect in the murder of a Thai couple in Taiwan surrendered to police in Chiang Mai province on Friday morning.

Santi Supa-apiradeepailin, 35, was handed over to Crime Suppression Police by his 63-year-old father and other relatives at the 335th border patrol police division in Chiang Dao district about 8am.

The suspect was immediately taken to Bangkok. His surrender ended a police manhunt and followed extended negotiations with his relatives and friends.

Mr Santi is wanted in Taiwan for the murder of Prasert Norat, 32, and his 35-year-old wife Potjanee, who was five months pregnant with twins. The couple and the suspect were business partners.

The victims' bodies were found in their BMW X4 vehicle parked outside Taoyuan high-speed rail station near Taipei last Sunday.

Mr Santi was seen on security camera footage on June 8, when the three had an appointment. The suspect drove their BMW to the train station in the early morning of June 9.

The suspect arrived in Thailand later on June 9, landing at Suvarnabhumi airport, and immediately flew to Chiang Mai to visit his family in Chai Prakan district before disappearing.

It was reported that Mr Santi and the murdered woman were childhood friends.

Taiwan media reported the victims were killed elsewhere. The vehicle was said to have a strong smell when the bodies were found. Police said the victims had been beaten about the head.

Investigators speculate a conflict over a series of loans made to Mr Santi led to the murders.

Police will ask a criminal court to not allow bail in fear the suspect will flee.

National police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk said Mr Santi denied the murder charge and said the killing was done by someone else, whom the police declined to name.

He said Thai police will cooperate with their counterparts in Taiwan as the investigation continues.

Suchart Supa-apiradeepailin, the suspect's father, said he wanted to apologise for any harm his son may have caused, adding he wanted his son to turn himself in to show that his family did not help him hide from authorities.

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