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Police Arrest Suspect Over Swiss Woman’s Murder in Phuket



Phuket, Police Arrest Suspect Over Swiss Woman's Murder in Phuket

Police on the resort island of Phuket have arrested a 27-year-old Thai man who has reportedly confessed to the murder of a Swiss tourist, two days after her body was found at a local waterfall.

The confession followed an intensive interrogation of the man, who had gone to the site to collect wild orchids, Thai media reported.

National police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk flew to Phuket on Friday with a team of top investigators to oversee the case, the first serious incident to be reported since the Sandbox program began on July 1.

On Saturday he told reporters that officers had some “good news” and that the case was “all wrapped up”. He is scheduled to hold a news conference at 10am Sunday to give more details.

Given the intense pressure on police to solve the case, online sleuths have been weighing in with speculation that officers would look to grab a scapegoat quickly. Pol Maj Gen Nanthadet Yoinuan, deputy chief of Provincial Police Region 8, said this was not the case, as investigators had obtained firm evidence and the suspect had confessed.

ตร.รวบชายผู้ก่อเหตุ สังหารนักท่องเที่ยวสวิสที่ภูเก็ต

A police source told the Bangkok Post that investigators had examined security camera video in areas near the waterfall and taken some people in for questioning.

One of interviewees acted suspiciously and a check found bruises on his body.

After an intensive interrogation, the interviewee confessed, according to the police source. Police searched him and found an ID card that identified him as Mr. Teerawat Thothip, 27, of Thalang district in Phuket.

The suspect, known locally as “Bang Lee”, told police investigators he spotted the tourist when he went to the waterfall. He reportedly claimed to have become aroused but when he attempted to act on that impulse, the woman resisted. They fought, and he pressed her head into the water until she died and then he fled.

The bruises and wounds on his body occurred during the struggle and from a fall onto some rocks at the murder scene.

Police on Friday released the timeline of the Swiss woman’s activities since her arrival in Phuket, ending with her 18-minute walk, alone from her hotel to the waterfall, about 1.4 kilometres away, on Tuesday.

Pol Gen Suwat said earlier that surveillance camera footage showed the victim had gone alone to the crime scene. He did not elaborate, pending the release of the official autopsy report.

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