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Surat Thani

Thai man charged with murder of British holidaymaker

Photo : Ekkapun is escorted by police in Surat Thani Wednesday.//EPA

Photo : Ekkapun is escorted by police in Surat Thani Wednesday.//EPA

Police have arrested a 26-year-old Thai man for allegedly killing a British holidaymaker who was caught in the crossfire between two groups of Thai men on the first day of 2013 in Surat Thani's Koh Phangan district.

Police identified the suspect as Ekkapun Klaewkla. Police said he confessed to killing Stephen Ashton, 22, a city trader, during an exchange of fire with another group of men who allegedly fired at his group.

Police quoted Ekkapun as claiming that his group was outnumbered during a fight at about 5am on January 1, so he decided to use his homemade gun to protect himself. Ashton was hit accidentally.

Ashton was dancing on the sand when he was caught in the crossfire. He was rushed to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries.

Ashton reportedly was on holiday with five friends, had travelled to one of the top locations on young Britons' gap year wish list - Haad Rin beach on Koh Phangan island.

Ekkaphan is to be charged with murder and carrying a gun in public.

Police said the victims' parents would travel to Koh Phangan to pick up their son's body.


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