Surat Thani –
Police are still hunting for a prime suspect after six people including the prime suspect’s son and wife were shot dead in the Khiri Rat Nikhom district.
The Region 8 Police commander Lieutenant General Surapong Thanomjit told the Phuket Express that on Saturday (April 8th) four people were found dead at a Khiri Rat Nikhom house who were Mr. Thammarong Nilniyom, 61, the house owner and the former village headman, Mrs. Nilthip Pankachen, 48, who was Mr. Thammarong’s wife, Mr. Phonsak Petchchoo, 58, a former village headman, and Mr. Thammrat Wichean.
One of the gunmen was later identified as Senior Sergeant Major Attaporn Wichean who is in the Khiri Rat Nikhom Police Force. Mr. Thammarat Wichean, who was Attaporn’s brother, was with the gunman but he was shot dead when one of the three deceased victims fought back at the house. Mr. Thammarong Nilniyom was also Attaporn’s father-in-law, the father of his current wife.
On Sunday (April 9th) another dead body with a gunshot wound in his head was found inside a sedan at the Baan Takhun district in Surat Thani. The sedan was a vehicle that the suspects used. The body was later identified as Mr. Attaphon Wichean Jr., 25, who was Attaporn’s son from his former wife.
On Monday (April 10th) another body was found at a room at a resort in the Khiri Rat Nikhom district. The body was identified as Ms. Panida Nilniyom who was a daughter of Mr. Thammarong Nilniyom the former village headman who was shot dead at his house. Ms. Panida was the current wife of Attaporn.
On Monday (April 10th) Mr. Manop Wangngan, one of the suspects, was arrested in Thap Phut, Phang Nga. He told police he met with Thammarat (the prime suspect’s brother) while he was in prison. After they were released, they still kept in touch with each other.
Thammarat asked him to join in a murder plot with his brother Attaporn. Attaporn’s son, who was found dead in the sedan had also joined in the plot and drove the sedan. The plot went sideways however when Thammarat was killed in the initial assault and it later appears that Attaporn turned on his own son. Manop and Attaporn separated and Manop was captured.
However, the prime suspect, Attaporn Wichean, is still on the run as of press time. Police are still trying to piece together the motives of the suspects and the overall timeline of the complex case. Assault rifles and shotguns were used in the plan.
A 50,000 baht reward is currently offered for information leading to Attaporn and police believe he has no intention of turning himself in as he has nothing to lose. He is considered armed and extremely dangerous.