Buried, murdered couple may have links to drug smugglers, say police
published : 11 Aug 2022 at 14:20
writer: Prasit Tangprasert
NAKHON RATCHASIMA: The slain Vietnamese woman and Nigerian man recently found buried in Chok Chai district were lovers, and their deaths may be linked to transnational crystal methamphetamine trafficking, according to police.
Pol Gen Suchart Teerasawat, the deputy national police chief, was speaking on Thursday after being briefed by investigators at Provincial Police Region 3 on Wednesday.
The dead couple were identified with the help of serial numbers on the woman’s silicone breast implants and the man’s fingerprints.
Pol Gen Suchart said investigators had surveillance camera footage from areas around the burial site and were checking on vehicles seen entering the area around the time the pair were believed to have been killed and buried. There were many vehicles, the deputy national police chief said.
Information exchanged with a neigbhouring country suggested the murdered couple might have been linked to a major crystal methamphetamine trafficking gang. The house there where they had lived in the other country was a suspected transit point on a smuggling route.
However, investigators were not certain whether international traffickers would directly get involved in their murder. Further investigation was necessary. Pol Gen Suchart did not name the neighbouring country.
Investigators earlier checked the silicone breast implants’ serial number against a manufacturers' database, which showed that the implants were sent to Vietnam. The Vietnamese embassy in Bangkok also helped them match the dead woman's fingeprints. This helped identify her as a 33-year-old Vietnamese woman named Nguyen Thi Van.
The dead man's fingerprints proved a match for Anabon Chka Hen, a 38-year-old man from Nigeria.
On the evening of July 28, a mushroom collector found the two bodies after noticing a fresh pile of earth covered with branches in a community forest in tambon Thung Arun in Chok Chai district, about 500 metres off Highway 224. When exhumed, their bodies were naked and each covered with a thin layer of concrete.
Investigators found spent cartridges and bullets less than two metres from the grave.
Pol Gen Suchart said the cartridges, the bullets and the source of the cement used to cover the bodies were still being followed up.
Relatives of the murdered Nigerian had not yet picked up his body. Police had been contacted by an elder brother, who initially confirmed the victim's identity from photos and dental records. The work was stil not completed.
Accounts given by relatives of the victims pointed to them being lovers, said Pol Gen Suchart.
Some witnesses had provided clues as to who had been in the area at the time of the double murder, which was believed to have been on July 17. The suspects had not yet been found, he said.