3 Thais, 1 Malaysian handed death penalty for businessman’s murder

On Friday, a court in Thailand sentenced four people – three Thai and one Malaysian – to the death penalty over the murder of a businessman in Songkhla province seven years ago, despite none of them pulling the trigger.

Songkhla Provincial Court sentenced two more defendants, the gunman and his driver, to life imprisonment.

In December 2014, 54 year old Lee Ah Han of Malaysian nationality was shot dead with an M16 automatic rifle while driving his black Mercedes-Benz S300 through Hat Yai. His wife, 42 year old Mayuree Thimpanee, was injured but survived.

Three vehicles followed Lee and one gunman shot him dead along Kanchanavanit Road.

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The reason for Lee’s assassination was to clear a land title debt of more than 120 million baht.

After interviewing 30 witnesses, six suspects were identified. One female suspect, Nongyao Chamninuan, alleged that the deceased had a relationship with the sister of another suspect, 47 year old Apichon Sae Lou aka “Sia Chon.”

Nongyao alleged that Lee secretly filmed having sex with Sia Chon’s sister and used the videos to blackmail her. Nongyao – who has been sentenced to the death penalty – alleged that Lee told Sia Chon’s sister to buy him a 20 million baht plot of land.

Sia Chon hired a team of Thais to assassinate Lee including Yuthasak Klamark (who drove an Isuzu pickup truck), Ekapol Inkaew (who shot the M16), Chinapat Pitakthai (who drove a Honda accord), Thanadet Ngamtam (who drove a Ford pickup) to clear a debt of more than 120 million baht.

Nongyao accompanied the assassins in the Ford pickup.

During the investigation, police also seized cash from the assassins made from the contract killings of two women.

The court sentenced all six suspects to the death penalty. However, the court reduced the sentence to life imprisonment for Chinapat Pitakthai (the Honda accord driver) and Ekapol Inkaew (the gunman), who are the only two suspects to plead guilty.

Initially, Chinapat and Ekapol plead innocent. Once they learned that the people who hired them were trying to blame the murder entirely on them, they plead guilty.

Sia Chon, Nongyao, Yuthasak, and Thanadet will be executed by lethal injection.

The last person killed by lethal injection in Thailand was Teerasak Longji, who was executed on June 18, 2018.

He was sentenced to the death penalty after being found guilty of, “brutally killing others for robbery.” Along with another teenager, he stabbed a 17 year old to death to steal his mobile phone and wallet.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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