SURAT THANI – Pol Maj Gen Apichart Boonsriroj, chief of Surat Thani police reported that an 18-year-old man who shot an Australian man in Surat Thani last week has confessed he carried out the attack to repay his gratitude to his patron, police said.
Sumet Khongthong, 18, of Kanchanadit district in Surat Thani, was arrested on Friday on charges of colluding in the attempted murder of Australian national Edward Woodward, the Bangkok Post reported.
Mr Woodward survived the attack after being hit twice by gunshots as he was driving in Muang district from his home into town for business on May 21.
The 64-year-old Australian, who lives in the district with a Thai woman, sustained slight injuries to both legs.
During the interrogation, Sumet implicated Jeeradet Paksong, 43, a Surat Thani resident, as the mastermind behind the gun attack. The teenager told police he had been given the job by his “patron”, Wanchai Mengchuay, 48, who pointed out the target for him.
Riding a motorcycle with no license plate, he followed a grey Toyota sedan and fired shots into the car, hitting the driver. He told police that he returned to fire more shots, but changed his mind when saw the driver was a foreigner.
Pol Maj Gen Apichart Boonsriroj, chief of Surat Thani police, said the suspect was not a professional hitman, but had experience using weapons.
Police said the attack was motivated by a romantic conflict. Mr Jeeradet, they said, had been in a relationship earlier with the Thai woman, identified only as Juthamas, who now lived with Mr Woodward.
They allege that the man hired Mr Wanchai and Mr Sumet to kill the Australian as he believed the woman might then return to him.