POLICE say they have arrested alleged Phuket knife wielding killer Surasak ''Boy'' Suwannachot, 26, in Thailand's Chumphon province. The arrest came at 2.10pm, said police on Phuket, and followed the arrest of the alleged getaway rider at 8am in another province. Both men are being flown to Phuket by helicopter.
PHUKET: As police in another province closed in this afternoon on a man suspected of killing Australian tourist Michelle Smith on Phuket - a 26-year-old man nicknamed ''Boy'' - people closely connected with the murder expressed relief.
The net was closing on ''Boy'' in the Thai province of Chumphon, where he fled after knifing popular travel agent Mrs Smith, 60, to death outside a Phuket five-star resort on Wednesday night in a bag-snatch gone wrong.
Earlier today, in the province of Samutsakhon, his alleged motorcycle getaway rider was arrested at 8am. Police named the rider as Surin Taptong, 37. He was being transported back to Phuket immediately, where he is likely to be presented to the media.
The purple Honda Dream 100cc motorcycle used in the killing has been recovered on Phuket from a shop on Phuket's Bypass Road where the suspected killer once worked.
He and the getaway rider fled empty-handed and left Mrs Smith dying in the road outside the Katathani Beach Resort, in the quiet Kata Noi bay area, about 10.30pm on Wednesday.
Wounded in the attack was another Australian agent, Tammee Lee, 42. Both women were among travel agents on a fact-finding mission to Phuket.
A spokesperson for the Phuket Tourism Association, vice president Bhuritt Maswongsa, said this afternoon: ''We are relieved to hear that the police have tracked down these men. We hope the second man is arrested without anyone being harmed.''
At the Katathani resort, where staff rushed into the street on Wednesday and tried to help Ms Lee save the life of her friend, there was also great relief.
''We couldn't believe such a thing could happen at this resort, where everyone does their best to take care of guests safely,'' an anonymous spoesperson said. ''It is good news to know that the people responsible are being apprehended.''
Phuket's police, Phuket's tourism industry leaders and Phuket resorts have organised a series of meeting to address concerns about security and safety on Phuket, especially following the murder and the drowning of six tourists in five weeks.