PHUKET TOWN: The suspect arrested in yesterday’s dramatic murder and hostage taking on Soi Hutchana Nivet was found to have no trace of ya bah (methamphetamine) in his system, though during the hostage negotiations he had claimed to have taken the drug in large quantities over the past few weeks. Pol Col Paween Pongsirin, Superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station, told the Gazette that following the arrest of Tiem “Tia” Srisuktham, 34 – who is alleged to have killed his nephew and held his neighbor hostage at knifepoint – he was taken for drugs testing. The test found no traces of ya bah in his blood or urine. Tia had earlier confessed to police that his addiction to ya bah had driven him to kill his nephew, Ta. However, his story changed later, said Col Paween. “He denied ever having taken ya bah but confessed that he had tried marijuana.” Dr Chanuan Sampatanarak, a psychiatrist at Wachira Hospital who met with Tia yesterday, said, “Even if we didn’t find the substance in his body, it doesn’t mean he never took drugs. “He told me that three days before the crime he felt very paranoid and scared, was jumpy whenever he heard any strange noise, couldn’t sleep and was irritable. “He told me that the victim [Ta] wanted to kill him, so that’s why he killed him first,” Dr Chanuan said. Dr Chanuan said it was possible that Tia had taken drugs in the past, and that this had had a long-term effect on his nerves. Col Paween said the case was proceeding, and that Tia would have to undergo further psychological tests to determine his sanity. Yesterday, Tia was charged with murder and with detaining or confining another person. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of death. He remains in custody at Phuket Town Police Station.
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