PHUKET: The owner of the Phuket-based Farang restaurant chain was shot dead while sitting with friends at one of his dining venues on Friday night.
The victim, Chit Raknanga, a successful and popular Thai national known to his friends as ‘Tik’, was shot at close range by a man who had arrived at the restaurant on the back of a motorcycle.
According to an eyewitness who spoke to the Phuket Gazette, the killer walked into the restaurant at about 9:30pm – not 1am as had been earlier reported on a local blog – and shot the victim three times; once in the head and twice in the body. He then fled on the motorcycle driven by an accomplice.
Less than 10 people were reported to have been dining in the restaurant at the time of the killing, after which police took approximately 20 minutes to arrive at the scene, according to the witness.
Police said that the victim was sitting at a table with two friends when the murder occurred.
The victim’s brother Chart, also in the restaurant at the time of the murder, told the Gazette this morning that Tik’s body, accompanied by his wife Tien, was today flown to Tik’s home province, Ubon Ratchatani, for cremation. He said that arrangements would also be made very soon for merit-making here in Phuket.
Senior Phuket Provincial police officers told the Gazette that they were not yet sure of the motive for the killing and are currently following several lines of inquiry, including the possibility of personal and business-related conflicts.
The partially open-air restaurant serving Italian, European and Thai food on the bypass road opposite Index is one of two Farang Restaurant branches in Phuket, the other being in Cherngtalay. A third has recently been opened in Bangkok.
According to a Gazette shareholder who was close to the victim, preparations had already been made to move the restaurant’s current location on the bypass road across that road to The Point, a new apartment complex opposite Big C.
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