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Police evidence markers sit on the ground in Pailin on Sunday during an investigation into the murder of a Thai national. National Police
Police evidence markers sit on the ground in Pailin on Sunday during an investigation into the murder of a Thai national. National Police

Thai casino worker’s body found in Pailin

Pailin police are investigating the murder of a Thai man employed by a casino on the Thai-Cambodia border whose corpse was discovered in a field in Sala Krao district on Sunday.

The body of Somnuek Charunchirathian, 51, was found by residents of Ou Chheu Kram village in Stueng Kach commune as they harvested morning glory on Sunday, according to Un Sereyroth, province deputy police chief.

He was reported missing on February 13.

“Villagers reported to the village chief that they found the body of a man,” he said. Sereyroth said the body of the victim, also known as “Sai Tum”, had been exhumed and formally identified yesterday.

He said the shallow 1-metre-long grave had been prepared beforehand and the victim was believed to have been shot where he was buried.

“The victim was shot two times in the neck and once in the back, on the left-hand side,” he said.

Warut Wannaiamphikun, the owner of the Pailin Flamingo Casino where Charunchirathian worked, told reporters on Sunday that he had met with Charunchirathian and discussed a 32 million Thai baht (about $900,000) debt owed to Charunchirathian by a friend and business partner prior to the disappearance.

The nature of the business venture between Charunchirathian and his friend was a venture that sought to bring customers to the casino, according to Warut.

According to Sereyroth, “a friend” who “called the victim for a meal” on the night of February 13 is an early suspect, though he declined to offer further details. That scenario matches the account given to Thai authorities from Charunchirathian’s associates at the Pailin Flamingo Casino.

According to Thai police, in the early morning of February 14, the victim’s wife had called his cellphone, which was answered by an unknown woman who said Charunchirathian was unavailable before a man’s voice commanded the phone be switched off.

While Sereyroth said that Cambodian authorities were investigating independently, he did not rule out the possibility of collaboration.

According to Sereyroth, following a request by Thai authorities, the victim’s body will be returned to his family.

Additional reporting by the Bangkok Post

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