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Ljung (left)  and Soderlund on the way to court on Phuket yesterday

Phuket Murder: Swedes Tell of Killing at Five-Star Apartments

Friday, November 1, 2013
PHUKET: Two Swedes accused of a Phuket murder were surprised when a man they had stopped at gunpoint started to bleed, a court heart yesterday.

Maxim Schantz, also Swedish, was wearing a full face motorcycle helmet when Johan Sebastian Ljung and Tommy Viktor Soderlund confronted him outside a five-star Phuket City apartment block one night in August, 2011.

Soderlund had a gun, Phuket Provincial Court heard, and Ljung held a knife. When Schantz struggled, Ljung grabbed him from behind.

The two men only spotted blood when Schantz ran towards a security guard at the apartment block entrance, shouting ''Help! Help!''

Even then, Soderlund and Ljung told the court yesterday, they did not realise that the knife had severed the carotid artery in Schantz's neck and he was bleeding to death.

Soderlund, 28, gave evidence yesterday at the trial of Ljung, also 28, who has pleaded guilty to murdering Schantz.

Soderlund has pleaded not guity and is being tried separately.

Soderlund told how he and Schantz had been in business together in Pattaya before Schantz stole a computer and fled to Phuket.

The list of ''customers'' contained on the computer was vital to a highly suspicious call centre operation that the pair ran, mostly targetting Scandinavia.

Soderlund told the court he and Ljung arrived on Phuket three weeks earlier and, when they traced where Schantz was staying, moved into the same ritzy apartment block the night before the confrontation.

They intended to bind Schantz's wrists, then extract information from him. But he was a larger man and he resisted.

As Schantz bled to death, the two men commandeered a motorcycle at gunpoint to flee. The pair were arrested the next day in Cherng Talay and have been held in Phuket Prison since.

''I didn't mean to murder him,'' Ljung told the court yesterday. ''I hadn't ever met him and there was no conflict between me and him.''

Ljung said he had been told that Soderlund had a gun, but did not see it until it was produced when the pair confronted Schantz.

He carried the knife because Schantz was a large man and he had been told Schantz knew how to protect himself.

The case against Ljung concluded yesterday and he will be sentenced on December 16. A date for the resumption of the trial of Soderlund has yet to be set.


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