Police are looking for a few final pieces of evidence before naming the businessman who allegedly hired a team of five men to assassinate a neighbour who was demanding money from him for encroaching on his land.
The neighbour, Songvit “Koy” Winyupradit, 49, had complained that a building erected by the businessman on his adjoining land, next to the beach near Phuket Airport, was partly on Songvit’s own land. It jutted out, covering an area measuring 60 by 84 centimetres.
Mr Songvit told the businessman he wanted B6.5 million for the encroached land, failing which, he wanted the encroaching part of the building demolished.
The businessman looked at his options: B6.5 million to get the half-square-metre of land or B600,000 to get rid of Songvit and, as a precaution, his brother, who was also his heir. He hired a fixer who in turn hired four men to carry out the hits.
The team began to make plans. They were not very clever about it. Mr Songvit’s wife spotted one of them hanging around outside the house. When she asked him what he wanted he said, “I’m just interested in land,” and went away.
The first hit, against Songvit, went badly wrong.
On the morning of January 19, Songwit took his daughter to school. As he rode home again along the Baan Ya-Baan Don Rd, a motorbike came the opposite direction.
The passenger on the bike fired four shots, hitting Songvit in the hip, right leg and right buttock. Songvit managed to stay on the bike long enough to get help. The gunmen fled.
The day after the shooting, Adisak was sent to the hospital where he discovered that Songvit was still alive and under police guard. He reported this to Harim who was far from happy.
He said he would pay the crew B150,000 with the remaining half of the contract on Mr Songvit payable only on confirmation of the target’s death.
Mr Songvit’s brother, meanwhile, had also been given a police guard. The gang were told to lie low and wait for another chance.
On Monday (February 23) police had the fixer, Harim Rakmit, in custody, along with all four men he had hired – Adisak Preekan, Kietkai Yimkeaw, Aimran Lannui and Worawut Piewdam.
The story was revealed yesterday (February 25) when Pol Maj Gen Patchara Boonyasit, Phuket’s police commender, presented Harim and his team to the press, and to the victim’s family.
Adisak, the leader of the hit team, apologised publicly to Mr Songvit’s brother and family, who graciously accepted the apology. Harim said nothing, keeping his face hidden with his hands.
All five members are charged with conspiracy to murder and with possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.
Police explained investigators used CCTV footage to track the shooters back in time until one of the duo was seen getting out of a car. They identified the car and from this they were able to identify its driver, Adisak.
Gen Patchara said, “All the members of the team are from Krabi. We will arrest the man who ordered the hits very soon.”
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