Interpol Red Notice issued for Norwegian man over Phuket killing

Patong Hospital, where British national Amitpal Singh Bajaj was pronounced dead after allegedly being killed by Roger Bullman in a fight. The authorities believe Bullman is no longer in Thailand.
Patong Hospital, where British national Amitpal Singh Bajaj was pronounced dead after allegedly being killed by Roger Bullman in a fight. The authorities believe Bullman is no longer in Thailand.ST PHOTO: HATHAI TECHAKITTERANUN

An Interpol Red Notice has been issued for Roger Bullman, the fugitive Norwegian who allegedly killed British national Amitpal Singh Bajaj at a Thai resort last month, Phuket police confirmed yesterday.

"We filed a motion with the Foreign Affairs Division on Sept 17, and the notice was issued (on Sept 18)," said Colonel Prawit Suthiruengarun, police chief of Karon sub-district, where the incident took place.

The notice, seen by The Straits Times, indicated that Bullman is an "escape risk" and "violent".

A Red Notice requests the autho-rities worldwide to detain people pending possible extradition or other legal actions.

Bullman, 53, who was charged with manslaughter and criminal trespass, is believed to be on the run after he failed to report himself to the Phuket Provincial Court on Sept 2, prompting the court to issue an arrest warrant for him.

"We believe he is no longer in Thailand because we have looked for him everywhere in Phuket and have not found him," Karon Police Major Techin Deethongon told The Straits Times.

"There is no report of his sighting anywhere else in Thailand either. It is likely he crossed natural borders because he cannot travel legally outside Thailand," said Maj Techin.

Bullman's passport was confiscated by the court when he was charged on Aug 21.

On the same day, he was granted bail by the court and, while awaiting trial, moved into the Ikon Hotel, located about 450m from the Karon police station.

 ROYAL THAI POLICE
Roger Bullman had confessed to choking Mr Amitpal Singh Bajaj to death, but claims Mr Amitpal first stabbed him in the shoulder with a knife. PHOTO: ROYAL THAI POLICE

Hotel staff said he left with a small backpack on Aug 31, and has not been seen since. They said he paid for a room up until the beginning of this month.

 
 

Bullman, a former soldier and bodyguard, allegedly killed Mr Amitpal, a 34-year-old IT consultant, during a fight at the Centara Grand Beach Resort in Phuket, where they were both staying.

A verbal spat across the rooms over Bullman's loud singing turned violent when he kicked open the door separating the balcony both rooms share.

Mr Amitpal told his wife, 34-year-old Singaporean Bandhna Kaur Bajaj, to take their 20-month-old son out of the room and to call for help.

When hotel guards rushed to the scene, they found Bullman, who was completely naked, strangling Mr Amitpal's neck with his right hand.

Mr Amitpal died soon after from suffocation.

Bullman confessed to choking the younger man to death during the fight, but he claimed Mr Amitpal had first stabbed him in the shoulder with a knife.

He told police he did not mean to kill the Briton, and only aimed to stop the knife attack.

Manslaughter cases are rare in Phuket, a southern island popular among tourists worldwide, especially one perpetrated by a tourist against another tourist.

Mr Amitpal's killing is the first such case since Pol Col Prawit took up the post in March, he said.

Police suggested Bullman may have felt unsafe after being photographed by British tabloid Daily Mail sunbathing by the hotel pool, and so fled the hotel.

The search for the Norwegian suspect has been contained in Phuket, while police at the national level do not seem to be aware of the case despite the arrest warrant.

Mr Amitpal's family in London had earlier expressed anger and shock that Bullman was granted bail.

"We are bewildered as to why the authorities allowed a self-confessed killer to roam the streets of Phuket unguarded, where he could potentially pose a lethal threat to other innocent parties," the family had said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 21, 2019, with the headline 'Interpol Red Notice issued for Norwegian man over Phuket killing'. Print Edition | Subscribe