KRABI (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Thailand's national police chief has confirmed on Sunday (July 16) the arrests of five men who he said confessed to the massacre of eight victims, including three children, in the southern province of Krabi last week.
He declined to reveal who masterminded the killing. The men are civilians, Pol-General Chakthip Chaijinda insisted, dismissing an earlier rumour that the suspects were former military men.
Witnesses to the crime had said they wore camouflage clothes and shot the victims in the head execution style.
Chakthip said that all people allegedly involved in the murders were already in police custody. However he declined to reveal the mastermind.
Meanwhile, police spokesman Pol-Colonel Krissana Pattanachoroen told reporters that the murder motive probably involved land and debt disputes between the assailants and village headman, Worayuth Sunglung. Worayuth was one of the victims.
Last week, Thais awoke to the shocking news that eight victims were killed en masse in Worayuth’s house in Ao Luek district. The victims were shot in the head execution style by assailants who stormed the house, disguised as security officials.
They held the victims hostage in separate rooms for hours before killing them. Five died at the scene while three others, including Worayuth, were pronounced dead at the hospital, police said.
Chakthip said some of the suspects were natives of Pang Nga, leading the suspects to escape there and destroy evidence.
The five suspects were taken last night to nearby Pang Nga’s Muang district where they told police they dumped weapons and burned a Toyota Yaris belonging to Worayuth, according to police. Police also seized a Toyota Fortuner used by the suspects. Forensic officials are examining it for fingerprints and other evidence.
At a suspect’s house in the district, police unearthed potential evidence, including telephone SIM cards and identity cards belonging to the victims, as well as three guns and ammunition reportedly belonging to Worayuth. The suspects’ confessions led police to retrieve gloves and handcuffs.