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Murder

Press chief charged over wife's murder

SONGKHLA - In a twist in the recent murder of the wife of the chairman of the Songkhla-based Press Association of Southern Thailand, police have arrested the husband and alleged he masterminded the killing.

The arrest of Chaiyong Maneerungsakul on Wednesday came after police obtaining confessions from the alleged killers of Wanphen Maneerungsakul.

But Chaiyong had been released on Bt100,000 bail, Sadao police chief Colonel Weerasant Thanpiam said. The officer alleged that Chaiyong paid Wissarut Phengjamras, Pholwat Phetnual and Thikhamphorn na Phatthalung, a woman, Bt500,000 to kill his wife.

A police source said a detective at Hat Yai Police Station with the rank of sub-lieutenant contacted the killers and was allegedly paid Bt300,000.

Thikhamphorn is reportedly a niece of the policeman, who is on the run, and Wissarut and Pholwat are both in-laws of the woman, the source alleged.

Pol Lt-General Phisit Phisutsak said Chaiyong had been granted bail because he was a well-known person and had shown no signs of absconding.

He said the motive behind the murder was family problems, and denied speculation that Chaiyong's coverage of illegal petrol trading and influential figures in the province led to the murder.

Weerasant said police had acquired comprehensive evidence against Chaiyong, including details of how the murder was planned at a Hat Yai hotel.

It was initially reported that Wanphen died of gunshots after trying to shield Chaiyong. But an autopsy revealed she also had multiple stab wounds, which led police to dig deeper into the case.


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