Police detain one alleged accomplice

Police detain one alleged accomplice

An alleged accomplice of a man suspected of killing a Thai couple found dead in a car in Taiwan was arrested yesterday while another one is being tracked down, according to police.

Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), said yesterday Thanawat Poomkhemthong was detained by Crime Suppression Division police at a house in tambon Dong Mun in Kalasin province's Nong Kungsi district.

He said Mr Thanawat confessed he colluded with Santi Supa-apiradeepailin, the prime suspect in the case, and another accomplice, Samart Sae Lee, to kill Prasert Norat, 32, and his wife Potjanee, 35, who was five months pregnant with twins in Taiwan on June 8.

Earlier yesterday, a police source said the Criminal Court had issued warrants for the arrests of Mr Thanawat and Mr Samart.

Mr Santi surrendered to police in Chiang Mai's Chiang Dao district on Friday.

Afterwards, the suspect was taken to Bangkok Remand Prison.

Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop said Mr Thanawat told police they disposed of the couple's bodies in a parked BMW outside of the Taoyuan high-speed rail station in Taiwan.

Mr Samart and Mr Thanawat were hired by Mr Santi for 500,000 baht to commit the crime, Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop said.

Mr Santi left Taiwan for Thailand on June 9 and the other two on June 11, he added.

Police are now focusing on conflicts between Mr Santi and the dead couple, he said.

Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop declined to reveal the motive behind the murder, but he said Mr Thanawat has identified the name of the person who clubbed the couple to death with an iron bar.

He added that police are now hunting Mr Samart, who remains at large.

Pol Col Anek Taosuparp, deputy commander of the Crime Suppression Division, told the press that even though the crime took place outside Thailand, the Royal Thai Police still has the authority to investigate it.

Police officers will file a petition to the attorney-general asking that office to consider handling the case, he said.

Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop said national police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk has sent a team of six officers to Taiwan to investigate the case, especially the disposal of the bodies.

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