Man held for fatal shooting of Thai top cop's nephew

Man held for fatal shooting of Thai top cop's nephew

Police arrested a man yesterday who they said shot dead a nephew of a senior police officer with a sniper's rifle early this month, in front of the victim's home while he was holding his baby daughter.

The suspect was identified as Khemmathat Lertlakkhanakul, 31, who police said was an aide to victim Thewphan Pao-in. Thewphan was a nephew of renowned crime-buster Lt-General Wiroj Pao-in, who is now retired.

The murder was likely to have been motivated by business conflicts Thewphan had with the suspect over deals on smuggled vehicles and a large sum of unpaid money between partners in car trading, a police source said.

Senior investigator Pol Colonel Akkharadej Phimolsri, quoted an auto dealer identified as Tum as saying that Khemmathat fled on an expressway after shooting Thewphan, and changed the wheels and licence plates on his car to avoid detection. The source said Tum approached police after learning of the murder on the night of May 1 and volunteered information leading to the arrest of Khemmathat.

The suspect reportedly told police that he had helped the victim deal in smuggled vehicles, but conflicts began when the victim did not pay him several million baht promised as a commission for successful deals.

Police, not convinced by the suspect's account, are looking into other motives or seeking possible accomplices in the shooting, given the use of a sniper's rifle and skill of the shooter.

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