Boatman arrested for killing tourist in Krabi

KRABI: Police arrested a suspect this morning in connection with the murder of the 21-year-old German student, Cao Ghu, who disappeared Monday morning and was found floating face-down in the sea near Koh Gai two days later. Cao Ghu, who was Vietnamese by descent, was an Asian Culture major at Bonn University. She was visiting Thailand for the fourth time with her boyfriend, Jörg Zaungger, 25. They were staying at the Grand Tower Hotel in Krabi Town, close to the Saphan Chao Fa pier. On Monday morning, Ms Ghu took a longtail boat to Railey Beach from the pier, a 45-minute ride. Before leaving, she told Mr Zaungger that she would be back by 5 pm. When she failed to return that evening, Mr Zaungger reported her disppearance to the tourist police. Her battered body was found by fisherman two days later. Reports of Ms Ghu’s death caught the attention of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who expressed concern over the effect the murder would have on the tourism industry. He sent special police investigators from Bangkok to work together with the local police and tourist police to solve the crime. Police brought in two boat drivers and one of the fishermen who had found Ms Ghu for questioning at the Krabi police station yesterday. Early this morning, after being questioned for about two hours, longtail boat driver Kasem “Maew” Dumdee, 34, confessed to killing Ms Ghu. Kasem told the police that he saw her at Railey Beach and suggested that she visit some nearby islands in his boat. Kasem said that he took her to an island and pretended that the boat had an engine problem, telling Ms Ghu that they would have to wait there awhile. While Ms Ghu was looking around the area, Kasem picked up a piece of wood from the boat and hit her on her back of the head. He then used a nylon rope to tie her right wrist to the boat so he could search through her bag. The rope came loose and Ms Ghu, barely conscious, fell into the sea. Kasem told police that he called out to her and asked her to swim back to the boat. When she reached the side of the boat, he grabbed her hand and hit her again in the face and on the head until she drowned. Kasem told police that he intended to rob Ms Ghu because he needed money to repay debts in an investment scheme he was involved in. Kasem said that he found 1,000 baht, a Walkman and a mobile phone in her bag. He told police that he took the money and tossed the Walkman and phone into the sea. After getting Ms Ghu’s number from her boyfriend, police tried calling the mobile phone. It was answered by a man speaking in a Southern Thai dialect, who said that that he was in Korat. In Kasem’s boat, police found a red hairband, which matched another found in Ms Ghu luggage at the hotel, which her boyfriend showed to police. Deputy Prime Minister Pongpol Adireksarn said at the Chalong Pier opening ceremony in Phuket today that he felt sorry that this had happened in Thailand. He added that, although this does not happen in Thailand often, the news is nonetheless very damaging to the country. “Every authority and all local people have a responsibility to take care of the tourists, not only the police. We do not have enough police to take care of every area,” K. Pongpol added. Kasem remains in custody at the Krabi police station while the investigation continues.

Phuket News
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