The national police chief on Sunday fingerpointed at a local money lender for being the plotter and gunman who killed, execution-style, village headman Worayut Sanglang and seven his family members at their house in Krabi’s Ao Luek district on July 11.
Speaking at a press conference held at the Krabi provincial police office, Pol Gen Chakthip Chaichinda, said that the murders were motivated by a business conflict last year between Mr Worayut and the key suspect, Mr Sureefut Bannobwongsakul or Sureefut, a local trader who also extends loans to the other people by accepting their land title deeds as a guarantee.
He said that Worayut had sought loans from Sureefut and placed his land title deeds as a surety, and after having settled the debts, Worayut demanded the return of his title deeds, but was declined by the latter who used the same title deeds to secure loans from somebody else.
The two men had a quarrel and exchanged verbal challenges, said Pol Gen Chakthip, adding that Sureefut had created situations on three occasions to paint Worayut as being a trouble maker and, in the latest occasion, spread disinformation about the headman in financial crisis.
The police chief alleged that Sureefut was the only person who pulled the trigger against the eight victims with none of the remaining six suspects expecting that the raid of Worayut’s house would end up with the massacre.
He claimed that the rest of the suspects were each given 1,000 baht by Sureefut and all of them confessed they were at the victims’ house when the massacre took place.
He assured that the horrific incident would not affect tourism business in Krabi, but the tourists and tourism-related operators would have more confidence in the police for their swift response and success in the arrest of the suspects.
Earlier during the day, Pol Gen Chalermkiat Sriworakhan, the deputy national police chief, led police in the search of a “safe house” used by the suspects. They later went to a military barrack in Klong Thom district where the suspects were being held in custody.
Worayut’s father-in-law, Mr Jaree Bootterb, said he was satisfied with the police performance in the handling of the case, but admitted he was worried for the safety for the remaining family victims of the late headman as there might still be a few other people involved in the murders who are still at large.