A Lao welder was arrested in Mukdahan Sunday night while waiting to cross the Mekong after fleeing Samut Prakan where he allegedly robbed and killed a grocery store owner and her granddaughter's friend earlier in the day.
Mukdahan immigration police were joined by troops in arresting Phoula, 22, while he was drinking beer in front of a grocery store in Ban Na Po Noi village on the bank of the Mekong River in Mukdahan’s Muang district.
Police charged him with the murder of Mali Imsawat, 67, and her granddaughter's friend 12. He was also accused of slashing the throat of Mali's granddaughter, 9, who was severely injured in the attack. A pet cat was also found dead with a slit throat at the grandmother’s house, which doubled as a grocery store, in Phra Pradaeng district.
Police said Phoula was arrested while waiting for a boat to smuggle him back to Laos.
He smiled for the cameras after his arrest, calmly admitting to police that he had indeed committed the crimes and had acted alone.
He said had taken a methamphetamine pill and got the idea of stealing cash from the old woman while he was high. He said he was a regular customer at the store and believed the old woman had a lot of cash with her.
He said he entered the house at about 3 am and spotted the cat. It was miaowing loudly so grabbed a knife from the kitchen and “tested its sharpness” on the cat, slashing its throat.
He said that Mali woke up to find him ransacking the house so he slashed her throat three times. The nine-year-old girl came out of the room and saw him clearly so he slashed her throat as well before ransacking the bedroom and using the knife on the other girl.
Phoula said he then took a taxi motorcycle from the mouth of the soi to Big C’s Phra Pradaeng branch and picked up a taxi to Morchit Bus Terminal. He then bought new clothes to change into, leaving his old blood-stained clothes in a toilet.
The Lao man said he paid a bus driver Bt1,000 to smuggle him into Mukdahan, saying he had no travel documents and wanted to go back to Laos.
He reached Yasothon at 2pm and the bus driver took him to sell a gold necklace he stole from the old woman for Bt7,500. He gave Bt300 to the bus driver who took him to buy a ticket to Mukdahan. He reached the northeastern border province at 7.30pm.
He then hired a tuk-tuk driver for Bt1,200 to take him back to Laos, explaining he had had no ID card. The tuk-tuk driver delivered him to the grocery store and he was arrested while waiting for a boat arranged by the tuk-tuk driver.