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Royal Thai Police commissioner Pol Gen Chaktip Chaijinda voiced confidence that the police will be able to arrest all those responsible for the execution-style shootings in Krabi while assuring that all positive motives won’t be discounted.
His confidence came as he flew to Krabi yesterday to direct the investigation by himself in the cold-blooded shootings of the village headman Worayuth Sanglang, his family members and relatives at his home in Ao Luek district.
The group of 6-7 gunmen entered his house which is also used as the village headman’s office at about 4.00 pm as if they were authorities and wanted to search his house. Worayuth was not in. The gunmen then detained all people inside and waited until 8.00 pm when he returned.
The shootings then started around 11.00 pm after the gunmen separated family members to their rooms.
Pol Gen Chaktip said he has ordered the investigative team to carry out their investigation as thoroughly and comprehensively as possible.
He confirmed that the police had not discounted any possible motives for the slaying.
However he was not able to confirm if southern extremists were hired to carry out the executions saying only that the matter was still under investigation.
But he said judging from the style of the crimes, it almost resembled the way southern militants did.
They destroyed video cameras fixed around the house and vicinities, took away the headman’s guns, and escaped in stolen car of the victim’s.
He also stated that he has ordered a 24 hour intensive security detail around the three surviving members of the family.
One man survived the shooting by pretending dead after he was shot on the head by the gunman. The bullet missed vital part on the head.
He managed to call relatives for help and the first word spoken to the relative in the phone call is “police kill them”.
The commissioner closed by saying that no details in the investigation can be made public at present as it could have dire consequences for the victims.
Possible motives are conflict with local politicians, conflict with villagers over a rock grinding concession, forced eviction of villagers from concession area of the rock grinding mill, drug trafficking and adultery.
Adultery was suspected after the headman was reported to frequently visit his pregnant minor wife in Ang Thong.
Forensic police also said the gunman used the headman’s service handgun to shoot and kill two victims
Commenting on suspicions that the gunmen in fatigues might be government authorities, and they might be familiar with the headman because they were with the victims for many hours, and the execution might be to gag their mouths, Fourth Army Region commander Lt Gen Piyawat Narkwanich assured that they are not military authorities but just dressed like authorities to divert attention.
He also dismissed the gunmen are southern militants.
Forensic police inspected the scene of the shootings yesterday and found seven CCTV video cameras around the house were removed and hard disks taken away.
But police assured they might have evidence from neighbours’ CCTV cameras and from car video cameras which might have videotaped their vehicles.
The gunmen escaped in Toyota Fortuner van and the headman’s wife’s Toyota Yaris car.
Senior forensic expert says Krabi execution-style murder was well-planned in advance
A former police forensic expert says the execution-style shooting in Krabi was well-planned in advance and the perpetrators might be familiar with their victims.
In an exclusive interview with ThaiPBS, Pol Gen Charumporn Suramanee, a former assistant commissioner of the Royal Thai Police and now a member of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission, said he believed the shooting was well-planned in advance.
The perpetrators might first intend to negotiate rather than to take the life of the whole family members of the village headman.
This was judged from the time the gunmen spent in the house for several hours, he said.
They came in for negotiation with the headman on some unsettled disputes on conflict of interest, he said.
They were not hired gunmen and they were not related to any religious sect, the senior forensic expert said.
He said the reason which the gunmen had to shoot all inside the house because they were held hostages for several hours and
might recognise all the gunmen.
It was also possible that the gunmen and the victims might be familiar with each other, he said.
Commenting on the camouflage fatigues that the gunmen wore and the use of the guns of the village headman in the shooting, Pol Gen Charumporn said this indicated neither a hidden motive nor any symbolic sign.
According to police’s crime files, the first case of execution-style murder of the whole family members in the Southern Region happened 20 years ago in Songkhla province at a house of a health station chief at Rawa village.
In this case, five were killed. They included three children who were hanged and the mother tied and smashed to death on the face and the house was ransacked.
The murderer was arrested and later convicted to life sentence by the Supreme Court.
He confessed to the serious crime after learning that the family had sold a piece of land for one million baht.
He killed all of them after forcing them to reveal where they kept the money.
He was later arrested after police traced him from the loots he stole from the house.