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Artist's impression of the expat Phuket police wish to question about the murder

Phuket Bar Killing: Police Await Forensic Clues

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
SWEETHEARTS Bar murder victim Wanpen Pianchai is to be cremated at noon on Wednesday in a ceremony at Kata Temple that is expected to draw many Phuket bar industry workers.

Pursuit of her killer continues, with teams of investigating police still concentrating on the blue-eyed, bearded expat who was last seen riding off with Khun Wanpen from the Kata-Karon bar after sharing beers for breakfast.

The name of the prime suspect remains unknown, although Phuket City Police Superintendent Colonel Wanchai Eakpornpit, who heads the investigation, has been sent a half-dozen photographs of blue-eyed, bearded expats.

Police say they and Immigration officials have also reviewed thousands of photographs of expats who jetted off the island between June 18, when Khun Wanpen vanished, and June 24, when her naked and stabbed body was found in a pull-along travel bag dumped beside a roadway in central Phuket.

Checks continue on expats leaving Phuket but some police believe the prime suspect, who may well have altered his appearance, is still on the island. That thought has alarmed hostesses at more than 700 bars across Phuket, with some fearing that if an expat resident is the killer, then he may strike again.

Extra precautions are now being taken to ensure that sex workers who go off to spend time with strangers telephone to tell their bar or karaoke mamasans where they are, and that they are safe.

The photographs sent to Colonel Wanchai have all been shown to another Sweethearts Bar worker, who shared beers with Khun Wanpen bought by the bearded expat that fateful morning.

The woman is aware that she could just as easily have been the focus of his attention and been the one who rode off at 9am on the back of the motorcycle with the man.

The body of 34-year-old Khun Wanpen was returned to Phuket on Saturday from the Surat Thani Identification Centre where forensics experts examined it minutely for traces of the killer's DNA and any other clues that may lead to an arrest.

A full forensics autopsy report, detailing what was found, is expected to be received by Phuket City police within the next few days, possibly suggesting some firmer indications as to the killer's identity.

Colonel Wanchai has taken the unusual step of offering a 50,000 baht reward. The bar scene on Phuket remains abuzz with talk of the killing, a rare incident despite the inherently risky nature of the sex-for-sale industry.

The bearded man indicated his preferences when he first asked whether a katoey lady boy was on duty that morning at Sweethearts Bar.

The woman who shared beers with the man and Khun Wanpen told police that she was moving backwards and forwards to the table where they all drank, doing early-morning clean-up tasks.

She has looked long and hard at the photos sent so far to Colonel Wanchai but she has been unable to focus with certainty on any one man and say: ''This is him.''

It's known that the man spoke a smattering of Thai among his English, enough to persuade the police that he was probably an expat resident rather than a tourist, and he did say that he was taking Khun Wanpen back to his house in Phuket City.

The detailed autopsy is likely to reveal more about the stab wounds to Khun Wanpen's chest and neck, and whether she was strangled.

Was Khun Wanpen's body carried to the spot where it was dumped on the back of a motorcycle, or was there a larger vehicle involved? Did someone help? Balancing a large piece of luggage on the back of a motorcycle without help would be extremely difficult.

Staff at Sweethearts Bar have undertaken to ship Khun Wanpen's ashes home to her ageing, one-eyed mother in the province of Petchabun, where she must now raise her daughter's two young children in difficult circumstances.

The staff have promised to send money as often as they can, and Phuketwan readers have already made donations. People who wish to help can send money direct to Krung Thai Bank account no 6290233726 in the name of Sa Ard Maliwan.

Latest Public Health figures reveal there are 727 bars on Phuket, with 6125 female and 996 male employees.

Anyone with information about the man should call Colonel Wanchai's mobile telephone number: 081 6909959.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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He has two different ears, check the drawing?

Posted by Robin on July 13, 2010 17:49

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Maybe if prostitution wasn't (semi)criminalised, the workers wouldn't have to put themselves at so much risk.

Posted by Horse Doctor on July 14, 2010 09:19


Wednesday December 13, 2017
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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