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Thai Court Extends Detention of Chinese Tourist Who Killed His Wife for Insurance Money

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PHUKET – A Thai court has extended the detention of a Chinese national suspected of drowning his wife in a hotel pool to get an insurance payout equal to about 160 million baht.

Zhang Yifan, 31, has been detained since he confessed during interrogation to killing his wife Zhang Jie, 29, at the 5-star Paresa Resort Hotel on the afternoon of Oct 29.

The couple are from Tianjin in China. They arrived in Phuket on Oct 27 with their 20-month-old daughter for a vacation.

Mr Zang told hotel staff his wife drowned in their private infinity pool. The dead woman’s parents and police investigators doubted this as there were bruises on her body and her nails were broken.

Relatives of the woman found 18 life insurance policies bought by Zhang at the couple’s home. The total payout was worth more than £3.8 million with Zhang as the sole beneficiary

Media reported they were married in 2016 and the suspect was the sole beneficiary of his wife’s life insurance policies, with coverage worth 33.26 million yuan, or about 160 million baht. He had bought the insurance only a few months earlier.

The suspect initially confessed that he had a quarrel with his wife and assaulted her. Police charged him with physical assault causing death. They are examining physical evidence and paperwork to determine if her death was premeditated murder for the insurance money.

The evidence includes DNA samples taken from the husband and his late wife. Investigators expect to wrap up the case next week.

The provincial court on Thursday approved a police request to extend the suspect’s detention for another 12 days.

By Achadtaya Chuenniran
Bangkok Post