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Ratchaburi man arrested for murder, faking his own death

Jack Burton



PHOTOS: Daily News

Police in the western Ratchaburi province say a man, facing a possible jail sentence, faked his own death by killing another man, staging a car crash and burning the body. The announcement comes nearly a week after police discovered the body of a man who had apparently burned to death in a vehicle at a car upholstery shop.

It was later determined that the body was not that of the shop’s owner, as originally believed, but a scrap collector killed by the culprit, who staged the scene to avoid a jail term for another crime. 43 year old Thitinan Phoosuwan, the owner of the shop, was arrested in Ban Kha district of Ratchaburi and taken to Chom Bung police station for interrogation yesterday.

The case began after 2 cars were caught fire at the shop on the night of July 26. A man was found burned to death in the driver’s seat of the first car. Police initially believed the dead man might be the shop owner, who had gone missing earlier.

Investigators found signs that the cars had collided before the fire, which they believed might have resulted from a faulty fuel system in one of the vehicles. But after a thorough examination, officers obtained several pieces of evidence that shed light on how the incident really unfolded.

Investigators found that a motorcycle that Thitinan used regularly was missing. A further check revealed that Thitinan was arrested on a charge of attempted murder last year. He was sent to jail where he attempted suicide. Relatives later applied for and secured his temporary release. He was due to make another court appearance on August 18.

Forensic results confirmed that the burned body belonged to 54 year old Plian Seechompoo, 54, a scrap collector in Chom Bung district.

Police say Thitinan admitted to luring Plian to his shop for drinks, then using a crowbar to kill him. He reportedly then took the body to a car and started the engine, causing it to hit another car parked nearby. He then set fire to both cars, hoping people would assume the body was his.

If Thitinan were declared dead, the court would return his bail money to his guarantor. He also had life insurance policies, the payouts of which would go to his family. At that point, he believed, he would be free, according to his confession.

Police are pressing charges of murder and burning of a body to conceal a crime.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Daily News


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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