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Police target two for Buddha Mountain killings

Buddha Mountain killings Chon Buri Police target

TWO ARREST warrants have been issued in relation to the deaths of two youths, who were shot dead in front of tourists in broad daylight at a parking lot of a Chon Buri tourist attraction on Sunday.


Deputy National Police Commissioner Pol General Chalermkiat Srivorakan said on Tuesday the warrants were for the man who masterminded the killings and his accomplice.

Chalermkiat said Sayan Srisuk, 43, had been tracking 20-year-old former teenage beauty queen Paweena Namuangrak’s movements and on Sunday passed on information of her whereabouts in exchange for Bt20,000. Sayan then helped police identify the alleged mastermind as wealthy businessman Panya “Aoun Bangla” Yingdang, he said.

Sayan, who claimed to have been told that a team would abduct Paweena, was also taken for a re-enactment of the crime on Tuesday morning.

Police have applied for arrest warrants for Panya and his alleged accomplice Jirasak Unaiban for colluding to commit premeditated murder and colluding to take a weapon to a public place without permission. The identity of the hitman remained unknown last night, although police suspect more than three people were involved in the killing, which allegedly stemmed from Panya’s personal conflict with Paweena, said Chalermkiat.

Paweena was shot dead along with her 20-year-old high school friend Anantachai Jaritram at 4.30pm on Sunday at the Sattaphip district’s Khao Chi Chan (Buddha Mountain) attraction. She, Anantachai, Sayan and another male friend rented a car for the day to visit the attraction to make merit for Paweena’s birthday.

Police have found that a hitman was waiting in a white sedan at the parking lot before shooting the two victims and speeding away.

Their bodies were sent on Monday night to their Kalasin hometown for separate funerals.

Paweena’s 41-year-old mother Wanpen Namuangrak recalled that her daughter had dropped out of Udon Thani Rajabhat University in early 2016 to work at a night entertainment venue in Phuket, where a neighbour also worked, in order to help with the family’s expenses.

She said her daughter sent home Bt20,000-Bt30,000 per month and told her that a wealthy man, who was an influential figure on the island, was showing an interest in her but she wasn’t interested because he was a “violent person”.

Paweena moved to work in Nakhon Pathom last year after the man assaulted her in front of her friends,.

Earlier this year the wealthy man, who was still chasing Paweena, wired Bt1 million to the family to buy a car even though the family had declined the offer, Wanpen said. Neither Paweena nor her family had any desire to extract money from the man but he insisted on giving it to them nevertheless, she added.

“When I heard that she and Anantachai were shot dead at Khao Chi Chan, my heart broke,” she said. “I want police to bring my daughter’s killers to justice as soon as possible.”

Grief also lingered at the house of Anantachai, whose relatives said they wanted police to bring the killers to justice.

A cremation for Anantachai will be held today, with Paweena’s set for tomorrow.

The two families also wanted to make it clear that Anantachai and Paweena were merely childhood friends, not lovers as wrongly stated in many previous news reports.

Anantachai’s mother Chomsri Chompoopeun, 43, said she didn’t understand why her son, who had rather feminine ways and liked to dress in women’s clothes and dance at public events, was killed along with Paweena since they weren’t lovers.

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