PHUKET: Army sniffer dogs have found a body in jungle in the Cherng Talay region of Phuket and police suspect it could be Alexei Slabinskiy, 39, who vanished mysteriously on the holiday island earlier this month.
The body was discovered in a green plastic bag about five kilometres from the nearest roadway about 2.40pm.
Region 8 Commander Major General Panya Mamen was at the scene on Phuket this afternoon with relatives of Mr Slabinskiy, who were crying tears of grief.
Sniffer dogs named Forget and Tara found the body, half-buried and partially covered with dirt and leaves on a remote jungle trail.
Two men, Ukranian Olexandre Boychuk, 44, and Russian Aleksandr Novichkov, 57, are wanted over Mr Slabinskiy's disappearance.
Novichkov is also wanted for the attempted rape of Yana Strizheus, 23, Mr Slabinskiy's girlfriend, who vanished with Mr Slabinskiy on March 7.
Ms Strizheus is still at Vachira Phuket Hospital in Phuket City, where she has a police guard.
She was found on March 16 at the Blue Garden Resort & Spa, in Cherng Talay. Ms Strizheus emerged from the hotel room in a state of shock and with wounds to her neck and an arm.
She later told Phuket police that she and her boyfriend were kidnapped because Mr Slabinskiy failed to repay money to loan sharks.
Ms Strizheus was initially treated at Bangkok Hospital Phuket before being transferred to Vachria Phuket Hospital with a police guard at her bedside to make sure she did not escape.
Police initially thought Ms Strizheus might be part of an extortion bid but changed their minds when she eventually told them her story.
She allegedly called her boyfriend's relatives in Russia on March 7 to say the couple had been kidnapped and needed $100,000 urgently. She allegedly called again on March 13 to say that if the money was not sent, Mr Slabinskiy would be killed.
Relatives called the Tourist Police. Staff at the Blue Garden Hotel on Phuket reported that Ms Strizheus was in a distressed state in a room, together with empty whisky and beer bottles and damaged 100 baht Thai notes.
She was taken to hospital but failed to respond the questions and appeared to be in a state of shock.
Only wnen she recovered were police able to piece together a different account and soon after issue arrest warrants for the Russian and the Ukranian.
The manager of the Phuket resort, French national Eric Raymond Seigneurin, 55,has since been arrested for working without a work permit and for not filing a list of guests with the Phuket Immigration office.
Mr Slabinskiy's sister Tatiana Novoselova has also since offered 500.000 baht for information leading to the arrest of the two men believed to be involved in his disappearance. An additional 100,000 baht is offered to whoever finds her brother.
Police believe they can quickly and conclusively identify the body if it is Mr Slabinskiy because, as an expat resident. he had dental treatment at Bangkok Hospital Phuket, which is also in Phuket City.
Checking his dental records with the teeth of the body could provide investigators with a quick match.