Phuket City Police have issued an arrest warrant and appealed to the public to keep an eye out for the prime suspect in last night’s murder of Russian-born Swedish national Maksim Schantz, 25.
Police have launched a manhunt for 26-year-old Tommy Viktor Soderlund, also from Sweden, and another white male who are said to have recently rented a home together near the victim’s house at The Lantern residential complex in Koh Kaew.
The men are believed to have stolen and fled the scene on a Yamaha Fino motorbike with license plate number กตจ-729.
Police said initial reports by rescue workers that a gang of 12 men were responsible for the attack were incorrect.
Phuket City Police Deputy Superintendent Jumroon Playdoung told the Phuket Gazette that they are confident Soderlund is still in Phuket.
A maid at the complex told the Gazette that Soderlund signed a one-year lease on a house across the street from Mr Schantz’s yesterday morning.
“That’s when one of them stabbed Mr Schantz in the neck. He ran away shouting ‘Help, help,’ and collapsed and died near a security guard booth,” he said.
The two suspects then fled through Soderlund’s house and over a wall onto the street where Soderlund kicked the driver off a motorcycle passing by, stole it, and fled the scene, Col Jumroon said.
The Swedish Embassy in Bangkok confirmed to the Gazette that Mr Schantz became a Swedish citizen in 2000 and lived in Gothenburg.
He had been living in Thailand for about three years, the embassy said: two years in Pattaya and one in Phuket, from where he operated IT companies he owned in Sweden.
Phuket City Police Lt Col Nanon Pitakkultorn told the Gazette that Soderlund ran an IT business in Pattaya and that there had been an ongoing quarrel over business ‘competition’.
He added that at one point Soderlund’s half-Thai girlfriend left him for Mr Schantz.
“This love triangle and/or business competition may have had something to do with this murder,” Lt Col Nanon said.
The Swedish Embassy told the Gazette this morning that Mr Schantz’s mother, who lives in Pattaya, had been notified of her son’s death and is on her way to Phuket.