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Kathu killing attracts top-level interest

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Kathu killing attracts top-level interest | Thaiger

KATHU (Gazette, Kom Chad Luek): The mafia-style murder of Komkai Kositkoon, whose mother owns Jintana Shopping Plaza in Patong, has caught the attention of some of the nation’s top police.

“Maj Gen Chatree Sunthornsorn, a personal assistant to the national police chief, was in Phuket yesterday and has taken control of the case,” Thung Thong Police Superintendent Col Arayapan Pukbuakao told the Gazette today.

Khun Komkai’s body was riddled by nine bullets shortly after 7 pm on Friday, when she was attacked about 500 meters from the Kathu District Office.

The attack left seven bullet holes through the windshield, three through the front passenger window, four through the bonnet and two exit holes in the rear window.

Khun Komkai died in the driver’s seat.

Her husband, Khun Araya, 53, who was in the front passenger seat, was taken to Bangkok Hospital Phuket with one bullet lodged in his left ribs and three in his left arm.

Police recovered some 30 bullet casings from the scene.

“The investigation is now to be carried out by four teams: Thung Thong Police, Kathu Police, Region 8 investigators and the Central Investigation Department’s Crime Suppression Division. The teams will meet on Thursday to share their findings,” Col Arayapan said.

Although local media reports stated that police had said the motive may be related to the fact that K. Komkai is a beneficiary in her mother’s will, Tung Tong District Police Inspector Lt Col Kittipong Klai Kaew told the Gazette, “It’s too early to jump to conclusions. I am not sure about the motive yet. Investigations so far have revealed only that the car was followed by two men on a motorbike who drove past firing a 9mm automatic pistol, before speeding off towards Phuket City.”

Lasers were used to calculate the angles of entry and exit of the bullets, and metal detectors were used to scour the area to find the bullet cases that villagers had thrown from the road into the surrounding bush, he said.

Phuket Provincial Police Chief Gen Apirak Hongthong said, “Provincial police will now work alongside the local Kathu police.

“The style of execution and proficient use of war weapons shows us that the killers are professionals, and all known professional killers in Phuket will be investigated.

“The strongest motive so far is probably a conflict within the management of Jintana Plaza. This is a high-profile case that closely resembles the famous Hang Tong Thamwattana murder in Bangkok,” he added.

“The media reports stating that the weapon used was an Israeli Uzi was a presumption made by reporters and not by police,” Col Arayapan said.

“The bullets used were 9mm and 30 casings were found, but police have yet to confirm what weapon was used,” he added.

“We know that the hitmen fired from the U-turn in front of a Korean shop, but still have no clues as to who they were. More high-ranking police will be flying down from Bangkok to investigate this week,” Col Arayapan said.

 

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