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Khun Tos, best friend of murdered hostess Wanpen, at Sweethearts today

Phuket Bar's Pain Ends But Killers Remain Free

Sunday, July 18, 2010
SWEETHEARTS Bar was buzzing this afternoon with customers, and with the news: the blue-eyed, bearded suspected Phuket killer of Wanpen Pianchai was in custody. His photo was even on the front page of a newspaper, being handed around the bar.

He had been with police at the bar earlier on Sunday, recreating his meeting with Khun Wanpen.

Khun Tos, perhaps Wanpen's best friend, proffered a bottle of water with a gentle smile today when Phuketwan dropped by. The bar was surprisingly busy for that time, with several customers in both the inside and outside sections.

There was a huge sense of relief among workers in neighboring bars in Kata Karon, too, and probably in many of the more than 700 bars across the holiday island.

Khun Tos said that Khun Wanpen's cremated remains will be carried home on Tuesday, when a cousin who works at a resort on Phuket will be able to take her ashes to Petchabun.

Wanpen's mother, Sa Ard Maliwan, told Phuketwan by telephone that she would like to see her daughter's suspected killer in person, because she believed he had a ''black heart.''

''I would like to ask him: 'Why did you kill my daughter? I have only one child, now she is gone.'''

Khun Sa Ard said she had received some donations after Phuketwan published her bank account details. Gifts included 10,000 baht that came directly from an expat friend who knew and liked Khun Wanpen.

At the age of 59 and without a job, Khun Sa Ard fears she may struggle to pay for the education of Khun Wanpen's children, aged 11 and three-and-a-half. She said that Khun Wanpen never did meet her father, who departed when Khun Sa Ard was two months pregnant with Khun Wanpen.

''I miss my daughter a lot,'' she said. ''I would like to tell her: 'Wanpen, find some peace. Do not worry. I will do my best to take care of the children.'''

Both expats and Thais have shown a great deal of interest in Khun Wanpen's murder. While there are hundreds of hostess bars on Phuket and throughout Thailand, murders are rare.

If American Donal Fanelli*, 36, is convicted of the crime, several other Phuket-region riddles will still remain unsolved.

There is still no conclusive evidence as to what killed two young tourists, American Jill St Onge and Norwegian Julie Bergheim. The women did not know each other, but fell ill and died within hours of each other while staying in neighboring rooms at the Laleena Guesthouse on Phi Phi last year. Gas from a nearby water plant is considered to be the likely cause.

Police are still looking for the killer of Ian Kenneth Stuart, 60, a British expat, who was a financial adviser with St James Properties on Phuket. His battered body was found on February 23 last year in a bedroom at the shophouse where he worked and lived, diagonally opposite Tesco-Lotus, just off the bypass road intersection in Phuket City.

The killer or killers of former Norwegian ship's captain Simen Sparre Knudsen in Rawai about 1am on September 23, 2007, are also still on the loose. Knudsen, 47, a resident of Phuket for 20 years, was stabbed and left for dead on a dark, hilly roadside, not far from Phuket's Kata Viewpoint.

One of Phuket's worst killings of expats, a double murder, was carried out by Briton John Martin. Martin, born John Martin Scripps, learned how to be a butcher in prison and killed and carved up a pair of tourists, Canadian mother and son Sheila and Darin Damude, after befriending them at a beachfront resort in Patong, Nilly's Marina Inn, in 1995.

Wikipedia reports: ''Martin checked out and returned to Singapore on 19 March. On that day the skulls of the Damudes were found in a disused tin mine in Kathu district. A torso and a pair each of arms and legs were found along Bahn Nai Trang Road, 9.7 kilometres away, five days later. The body parts were so badly decomposed that visual identification was impossible; Royal Thai Police used dental records to identify the skulls and forensic analysis concluded that the torso, arms, and legs were likely to be Sheila's. The other parts of Darin's body were never found.''

Martin was hanged in Singapore in 1996, aged 36, for a third murder. Police believe he was a spree killer who may have also committed other murders as he travelled the globe.

People who wish to help Khun Sa Ard can send money direct to her bank account: Krung Thai Bank account no: 6290233726 in the name of Sa Ard Maliwan.

*Now known to be Ronald John Fanelli.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


PW, you are quite simply the best news and the like outlet on the island. Thanks

Posted by Sean on July 19, 2010 20:49

Thursday July 18, 2024
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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