Second suspect nabbed for gruesome murder of Korean in Thailand, 1 remains at large

Posted on : 2024-05-14 17:01 KST Modified on : 2024-05-14 17:01 KST
The suspect, a man in his 20s, was apprehended in Cambodia
Gyeongnam Provincial Police’s headquarters. (courtesy of the Gyeongnam Provincial Police)
Gyeongnam Provincial Police’s headquarters. (courtesy of the Gyeongnam Provincial Police)

Authorities have arrested a suspect in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a Korean tourist in Pattaya, Thailand. 

The Gyeongnam Provincial Police’s mobile detective division announced that it had apprehended a Korean man in his 20s suspected of kidnapping and killing a Korean tourist in Thailand. The arrest was made just after midnight on Tuesday morning in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, bringing the number of suspects in the case at large down to one. 

After tracking the suspect, Korean police received a tip on Monday night that the suspect was staying at a motel in Phnom Penh, where they apprehended and arrested him. The suspect was placed under the custody of local authorities. Police are currently negotiating with Thai and Cambodian police on extraditing the suspect to South Korea. With the help of local authorities, police are still tracking an additional suspect. 

On Sunday evening, Korean police arrested another suspect, also in his 20s, in the city of Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province, on suspicion of murder and abandoning the body. The suspect is currently being detained and interrogated, and has reportedly denied all allegations.  

Police were notified of the case when the mother of the victim reported phone calls and text messages she received. The voice on the line told her that her son had thrown away drugs, and doing so had “cost us dearly.” They then threatened to kill her son if she didn’t pay a 3 million baht (US$82,000) ransom. The mother reported the incident on May 7. 

Thai police discovered the body of the woman’s son in a plastic barrel filled with cement in Pattaya, Thailand, on Saturday. The barrel had been thrown into a reservoir. Investigators have announced that forensic evidence suggests that the man was murdered on May 4. Thai authorities have indicated that the body shows signs of mutilation.  

According to the police’s announcements, the victim traveled to Thailand on April 30. Witness testimonies suggest that he went to a nightclub in Bangkok’s Huai Khwang district two days later. This was the last place he was publicly seen. 

CCTV footage collected from the area around the club shows two Korean suspects kidnapping the man and forcing him into a rental car. The suspects drove 1 hour and 30 minutes to Pattaya, where they swapped the rental car for a pickup truck. The truck was seen leaving a motel parking lot at 9 pm on May 4, carrying something large and black in its bed. It was also seen parked for about an hour near the reservoir where the body was discovered. 

Thai police had to call a diving team to retrieve the body from the reservoir, which was around three meters deep. The team retrieved a plastic barrel containing the body of a Korean man in his 30s, later identified as the missing Korean tourist.  

By Kim Yeong-dong, Busan correspondent

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