Murder, attempted rape on mangrove walk
PHUKET TOWN: A man was stabbed to death as he tried to save his girlfriend from two would-be rapists on the new Saphan Hin mangrove tourist walkway on Friday night. One attacker dropped his wallet in the struggle, leading to the arrests of both the following day. The murder victim, Nopparat Thongjanthuck, a 26-year-old air-conditioning technician from Surin, had taken his 21-year-old girlfriend, a student, to the boardwalk that zigzags 520 meters from Saphan Hin into the mangrove forest. About 10:30 pm the couple were sitting in one of four two-floor salas along the way when the two men approached, carrying sharpened lengths of steel reinforcing bar. One held K. Nopparat face-down in a headlock while the other ordered the girl to take off her clothes. Pol Lt Col Teweth Pleamsuk, inspector of Phuket Town Police Station, said that K. Nopparat fought back and he and his assailant tumbled downstairs to the boardwalk. At that point the other attacker came to help his friend. During the struggle, K Nopparat was stabbed four times in the chest, stomach and back. Hearing other people coming to investigate the noise, the two attackers fled, leaving K. Noppart bleeding profusely. He was rushed to Wachira Hospital, but died the following morning. Police found the wallet on the boardwalk and showed an ID card from it to the girlfriend, who identified the man as one of her boyfriend’s killers. The card named the man as Pradit Maneesri, 23, from Trang. On Saturday officers went to Moo Baan Hatchana Nivet, Sri Sena Rd, in search of Pradit, but he was not at home. However, as the officers drove past the Shell gas station on Phang Nga Rd they saw Pradit and Sakchai Petchthong, 21, from Nakhon Sri Thammarat, and arrested both men. The two confessed to the crime, police said. They said they were drunk and aroused at the time. The men and K. Nopparat’s girlfriend took part in a reenactment of the crime at the sala late on Saturday afternoon. The 10-million baht boardwalk opened last month and, although widely praised, has also prompted concerns from local residents about the safety of people using it at night.
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