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Victim of Bangkok gang may be elderly European

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: A scan of body parts found in a refrigerator during a raid last week on a building in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Soi 56 suggests it was an elderly European man who was dismembered by an electric saw, Dr Udomsak Hoonwichit, of Chulalongkorn University’s faculty of medicine, said yesterday.

The deceased man’s DNA will be collected for identification and given to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for a check with its database, he said.

Udomsak and Central Institute of Forensic Science director Suphot Nakngernthong took the dismembered body for a virtual autopsy yesterday by CT scan to try to determine the time of death, the cause and possibly some clues about the killer.

That was carried out while other identification methods were used such as checking clothes and dental records, DNA sampling, and testing for traces of toxic elements or poison, Udomsak said. The results would also be sent to the FBI for a second check.

“The fact the body parts were frozen could affect the probe result, especially for the time of death,” he said. “The body is suspected to have been dismembered by a sharp electric saw and he was initially found to be an elderly European man.”

National police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda said yesterday that the interrogation of three Western suspects arrested at the building for passport forgery and other charges helped police identify a possible motive for murder. But he declined to reveal that motive pending further investigation, plus victim identification and whether the deceased was involved with the gang.

He said police also contacted an unnamed embassy to see if the victim was a citizen of that country, as per a passport found in the building.

Gen Chakthip opined that the person who did this was cruel, to kill and dismember someone to conceal a crime.

He confirmed that the group was involved with forged passports. The suspected gang leader is a man in his 50s, identified as either Peter William Johnson from the US or Peter Andrew Colter from Northern Ireland.

The two other suspects – Gabel Aaron Thomas, 33, and James Douglas Eger, 66, are both American.

Gen Chakthip said police found 10 British, French and US passports in the raid. They were investigating whether there are more accomplices and have summoned a Thai woman, married to Colter, for questioning.

Gen Chakthip spoke while visiting Sgt-Major Kanchanapong Chedech at the Police General Hospital, where he was treated for gunshot wounds sustained during the raid last Friday.

— The Nation


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