Cambodian officials yesterday confirmed that British national Toby James Nelhams, wanted in connection with the murder of fellow Briton Tony Kenway last month in Thailand, is in police custody after his arrest “a few days ago” in the capital’s Por Sen Chey district.
Nelhams, 44, the alleged mastermind behind the January 24 shooting death, is one of three men that have been tied to the murder.
“The prosecutor is reviewing documents and evidence and questioning the subject,” Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Ly Sophana said yesterday, adding that they would continue questioning Nelhams today.
The victim, Kenway, was fatally shot once in the head while sitting in his Porsche in Pattaya, Thailand. Thai police immediately identified South African Abel Caldeira Bonita and Briton Miles Dicken Turner as the suspects.
The Bangkok Post first reported that Bonita and Turner entered Thailand from Cambodia, before returning to Cambodia after the murder. The Thai newspaper has since reported the two men were ordered to kill Kenway by Nelhams, and that Kenway’s wife claimed her late husband had been in conflict with a former business partner named “Toby”.
Nelhams was expected to be handed over to Thai authorities last week, though the transfer never happened and Cambodian officials at the time denied he was in custody.
Following yesterday’s revelation that Nelhams was being held in a Phnom Penh jail cell, one police official who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed Nelhams was the “mastermind” behind the murder, and personally ordered the hit from Cambodia.
“He was arrested a few days ago in Por Sen Chey district,” the officer added, explaining that police were tipped off by another British national who had been arrested for overstaying his visa.
“Through his answer, we know that this guy was the mastermind of the murder in Thailand. As the case happened in Thailand, I think he would be extradited to Thailand,” the officer.
While Cambodia and Thailand have an extradition treaty in place, Sophana and other government officials refused to comment on whether or not a transfer to Thai authorities was in the works.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry yesterday referred questions to the Ministry of Interior. Ministry of Interior spokesman Khieu Sopheak also refused to comment, directing questions to National Police spokesman Kirth Chantharith, who could not be reached.
Both the British and Thai embassies did not return requests for comment.