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Phuket killer nabbed while selling fish



PHUKET: Six months after gunning down an ex-friend and colleague in Phuket, a former Patong tout is in police custody after his arrest in his home province of Nakhon Sri Thammarat on Monday.

Thung Thong Police investigators arrested Viroon “Beer” Sudthue at the Chalermprakiat Market in tambon Kapang, Thung Song district.

He was helping his mother, a local fishmonger, at the time.

The suspect was presented to Phuket Provincial Police Commander Pekad Tantipong at Thung Thong Police Station in Kathu at 3:30pm yesterday.

Mr Viroon confessed to the murder, saying the April 15 slaying of Pornsak “James Patong” Thongbaiyai was driven by anger and vengeance after Mr Pornsak, also of Nakhon Sri Thammarat, betrayed him.

Mr Viroon told police the pair were once close friends who worked together as touts on Soi Bangla.

However, Mr Pornsak’s aggressive behavior and failure to respect Mr Viroon as his elder soured the friendship, police said.

He carried out the attack only after Mr Pornsak threatened to kill him, Mr Viroon claimed.

The suspect said he acted alone and that another suspect, identified as Ekapop “Yai” Tawisuwan, was not involved, Col Kraithong said.

However, police are still seeking Mr Ekapop, who was riding pillion on the same motorbike at the time of the killing and fled the scene on foot. Two other motorbikes, each with one male and female aboard, were also present at the scene, police said.

Mr Viroon was charged with premeditated murder and is now in custody at Phuket Provincial Prison.

The news of the shooting, which took place over the Songkran holidays, led to a call for a handgun crackdown in Thung Thong Police District.

Many people who work in the Patong night entertainment industry live in tambon Kathu, which is separated by Patong Hill from the island’s seedy night entertainment district.

— Sitthipong Nongkaew


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