American confesses to murder of Phuket bar hostess

PHUKET: The American man arrested for the murder of bar hostess Wanphen Pianjai has confessed to charges, police say.

Ronald Fanelli, 36, was arrested by a team of officers led by Police Region 8 Commander Weerasak Meenawanich early yesterday evening at his newly-rented home in Karon.

The successful manhunt was one of the most intense in Phuket in recent years, harking back to the successful search in 2008 for the murderer of Swedish tourist Hanna Backlund in Mai Khao in March of that year.

At least six top-ranking Region 8 police officers were present for the arrest, which followed the issuance of a court warrant earlier the same day.

The Gazette has as yet been unable to independently confirm that the suspect also goes by the name of Ronald “MadYank” Fanelli and is a poker player with a blogsite containing several posts about his life in Phuket.

However, posters who expressed shock at the arrest on one online discussion forum dedicated to poker have confirmed that the man pictured was a regular contributor who went by the user name “NewTeaBag”.

Mr Fanelli told police upon his arrest that he carried out the murder while under work-related stress.

After the murder, at his home in Wichit Village 1, he rented the new home in Karon, police said.

More details about the arrest are expected at a police press conference scheduled for 10am tomorrow.

Phuket News
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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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