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Visitors from Phuket ride a rocky monsoon season pontoon at Raya-Racha

Five-Star Phuket Affair Ends in Tragedy: Two Die

Sunday, August 16, 2009
STAFF at a well-known five star resort on the island of Racha, near Phuket, are stricken with grief over the murder of a young woman colleague and the suicide plunge by her killer, who was also on staff.

Just after midnight on Sunday, police were called to the island, which is also known as Raya. It's a popular destination with snorkellers on day trips and divers on live-aboards.

Waraporn Pimhorm, 34, a reservations receptionist, had been stabbed about 10 times in the chest and was rushed to Vachira Hospital in Phuket City, about 30 minutes away by speedboat. She died while still at sea.

Officers discovered that the stabbing took place in a staff toilet at the five-star Racha Hotel.

Ten police, who reached the small island about 3.30am, scoured the surrounding countryside in the dark for the person who made the knife attack.

About 9.30am, locals found the body of a man at the base of a telecoms tower, about 300 metres from the resort. He was later named as Harim Thinnarong, 33, an electrician at the resort. His neck had been broken in falling the 72 metres from the tower.

In his pocket police found a bloodied knife.

A colleague and friend of Khun Waraporn's, who did not wish to be named, said that she had been told Khun Waraporn wanted to end her relationship with Khun Harim because he had other girlfriends.

The woman said she had been present when the pair met recently and Khun Harim told Khun Waraporn: ''If you stop being my girlfriend, you will die.''

The woman said she heard Khun Waraporn's cries for help early this morning and arrived at the toilet to see Khun Harim running away.

Racha-Raya has frequently made the news, most often because of concern about the future of its surrounding reefs, where divers compete with illegal fishermen.

Rubbish disposal is becoming a large issue, too. The island is slowly becoming overwhelmed with its own garbage. Landfill is the only disposal method.

The murder-suicide climaxes nine days of excessive but unrelated violence on and around Phuket.

On Saturday August 8, one of five men at a drinking party in Chalong-Rawai shot the other four, killing three of them. On Thursday August 13, the bodies of a man and a woman, apparently the victims of execution-style shootings, were found in a national park in the neighboring province of Phang Nga.

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