Pharmacy worker arrested after shooting debt collector

PATONG: An employee who shot and injured a private debt collector who tried to collect past-due rent was arrested for attempted murder on Friday.

Uthai Petchara, 26, was working with Sarawuth Sukanek, 22, and another employee at Tak Pharmacy, near Loma Park on Thaweewong Rd, when four men entered the shop around 5 pm Friday.

Narong Duangmusik, 32, and his accomplices approached Uthai and demanded he pay money that “Tak” owed in rent.

Uthai refused to hand over any money and as the four men began to leave the pharmacy he took a 9mm pistol from a drawer and fired one shot, hitting Narong’s left wrist.

The four men retreated to a pickup truck and drove to Patong Hospital. Uthai then fled the scene in his black pickup with workmate Sarawuth, leaving the third worker, who called Kathu Police, behind at the shop.

Pol Maj Serm Kwannimit and his team of officers arrived at the pharmacy 20 minutes later and questioned the remaining employee, who told police the model, registration plate number and other details of Uthai’s vehicle.

A police squad then drove to Patong Hospital to find Narong, who said that he was paid to retrieve rent owed by Tak to their hirer, who police described as an “Indian man”.

A second police squad later found Uthai’s pickup truck parked in front of the soi leading to Montana Grand Hotel Phuket.

K. Sarawuth, who was alone in the pickup, told police that Uthai had driven him from the scene before stopping the vehicle and making off on foot.

K. Sarawuth had stayed in the pickup, unsure what to do, until he was found by police.

Later that night, Uthai turned himself in to Kathu Police Station, where he was arrested for attempted murder and released on 200,000 baht bail, paid for by an undisclosed relative.

Pol Lt Col Boonlert Onklang of Kathu Police told the Gazette that Tak owns a 20% share of White Sand Resortel in Patong. The man who allegedly hired Narong and his gang owns the remainder of the shares. He also owns the building that houses Tak Pharmacy.

Tak and her Indian partner had argued about financial matters and Tak had refused to pay him rent owed for the pharmacy. Police did not disclose how much money Tak owed.

After Tak’s refusal to pay rent, the man enlisted the help of Narong and his gang, said Col Boonlert, who added that the gang had visited Tak at the pharmacy several times and that Uthai and Sarawuth were relatives of Tak.

Narong had called Tak and told her he would visit the pharmacy at 5 pm to collect the rent. Frustrated with Narong and his henchmen’s persistent visits, Tak ignored the appointment and left Uthai in charge of the shop, said Col Boonlert.

The Kathu Police have submitted details of the case to the Phuket Provincial Court and will continue their investigation.

Phuket News

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Legacy Phuket Gazette

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

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