Gambling debt the possible motive for Thai entertainment tycoon's murder

Gambling debt the possible motive for Thai entertainment tycoon's murder
PHOTO: The Nation/Asia News Network

THE PROBE into the murder of former night-entertainment tycoon Somyot Suthangkool has made progress and police now believe gambling debts and lawsuit lobbying as possible motives, national police chief Pol General Somyot Poompunmuang said.

Meanwhile, the two wanted men - a gunman and a getaway motorcycle driver - were believed to be lying low in Bangkok. Somyot, the former owner of the once well-known Rama IX Cafe, was shot dead on Monday evening.

Deputy police chief Pol Lt-General Ruangsak Jarit-ek, who called a meeting of investigators yesterday, said police would need some time to complete the investigation, obtain forensic test results, gather evidence and witness accounts. Investigators would check all aspects of the case, including the account by the slain man's wife, which contradicted that provided by one of the suspects referred to as K.

Ruangsak said the probe currently considered dispute over a gambling debt as the main motive. He admitted that dispute over a plot of land on which Rama IX Cafe was located, was also considered. He said police found that Somyot had recorded phone calls from certain numbers, hence police was checking them.

On Wednesday, police took into custody and interviewed K's husband. Ruangsak said police were now checking the information he had provided as well as his background.

Asked if police would investigate Somyot's alleged case-lobbying work, Ruangsak said police would be checking on that lead too.

Pol Colonel Akkaradech Pimolsri, acting chief of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), said police had also heard from a woman, who had filed a complaint two years ago alleging that Somyot had promised to lobby in a lawsuit in exchange for a Bt15-million payment, but the case still stood.

Pornchai Suteerakune, chief of the Forensic Police Institute, said the post-mortem examination had found three slugs in Somyot's body, hence they would conduct another ballistic test.

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