The three Chinese suspects in the abduction and murder of a Chinese student in Thailand have been arrested in Wuhan and will be prosecuted in China, the national police chief announced on Tuesday.
The murder is now being attributed to a romance-turned-sour.
Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas said the men could be sentenced to death under Chinese law.
The three Chinese men were arrested in Wuhan, China. They would not be returned to Thailand for trial because there is no extradition treaty between Bangkok and Beijing, he said.
The three suspects are Chinese nationals Chen Saikan, 23, Zhou Xiongfei, 23 and Zhou Pengfei, 24.
"Chinese authorities arrested the suspects in China and can prosecute them without extraditing them to Thailand. Under Chinese law, the case carries the death penalty," the national police chief said.
According to Pol Gen Damrongsak, the suspects told interrogators that the murder stemmed from a love affair. The victim, 22-year-old Jin Can, earlier had a relationship with one of the men in China. She was killed because she rejected intimacy with the man in Thailand late last month.
Chinese and Thai police will jointly interrogate the suspects, both in China and from Thailand, he said.
The national police chief said a 19-year-old Thai woman who worked at a karaoke shop has also been arrested. She was suspected of being a decoy in the abduction. Her information was useful to investigators, he said.
Pol Maj Gen Peerapong Wongsaman, deputy commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 1, confirmed the victim had known the suspects in China. They had followed her to Thailand and had kept in contact with her until the abduction, he said. They had arrived on 15-day tourist visas.
The murdered woman is reported to have taken online courses in China for her first two years of her university study and arrived in Thailand on March 8 for her third-year courses.
She disappeared on March 28 and her body was found in Nonthaburi province on April 1.
Earlier reports said that the gang demanded a 500,000-yuan (about 2.5 million baht) ransom from her father and murdered her after failing to get the money on March 29.