In a statement issued to media on Saturday, Hilton General Manager Andre A. Gomez said: ''We are deeply saddened by the death of Jintana Mahattanapak, and our heartfelt condolences go out to her family and friends during this difficult period. She was a valued employee at our hotel and will be deeply missed by her team and colleagues. We are reaching out to her family to offer assistance. The incident is currently under investigation with the local police, and we will cooperate fully with them. As the investigation is ongoing, we are unable to comment further.''
PHUKET: The woman killed in a shoot-and-flee assassination in a Phuket street last night was the senior human resources manager at a five-star resort and a mother-of-two, Phuket police said today.
She was named as Jintana Mahattanapak, who lived south of Phuket City and worked at the Hilton Phuket Arcadia Resort and Spa on Karon beach, Phuket's largest resort.
She had previously worked at the Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket and the Anantara Phuket Villas, polic said, naming two other five-star resorts with exceptionally good reputations.
Resort staff who knew Khun Jintana were shocked by her death. Today friends and colleagues were speculating that she may have been in conflict with someone in the resorts industry.
Police have viewed security camera footage and now know that the getaway vehicle driven by Khun Jintana's killers was not a black Mitsubishi, as they believed last night, but a blond Toyota Vios.
An all-points alert has gone out to police stations on Phuket and in the surrounding region for the vehicle and its occupants.
Police believe the killer was in the passenger's seat when the Toyota Vios drew up alongside Khun Jintana's white Chevrolet in Chao Fa West Road, near the intersection with Kwang Road, about 8.08pm last night.
A single shot fired by the killer hit 42-year-old Khun Jintana in the head, killing her instantly as she talked on her mobile telephone.
The gunman overcame the difficulty posed by the tinted window of the car by firing at close range. The shot left a clean hole in the dirver's side window and shattered the passenger's side window as it left the vehicle.
Police are still unsure of the type of weapon used and now believe the killer could have used a thai pradit homemade weapon, which would discount the earlier theory that it was a professional ''hit.''
It would even have been possible for the killer to fire while at the wheel of the getaway vehicle, so police are uncertain as yet whether one person or two people were involved.
Police from the new Vichit Police Station, opened south of Phuket City late last year, are heading the investigation.
The shooting blocked traffic in Chao Fa Road West on the approach towards Central Festival Phuket in Phuket City last night. A large crowd of onlookers gathered to watch as forensics police combed Khun Jintana's vehicle.
Her Chevrolet continued running, into a light pole on the kerb. It is believed Khun Jintana's tabian baan was based on a property she owned in Yaowarat Road Phuket City.
Her killing comes just a few days after the annviersary of the last assassination in a Phuket street, when journalist Wisut ''Ae'' Tangwittayaporn, 44, was shot dead by a motorcycle rider on January 12 last year.
On January 13 this year, suspect Tossapon ''Sanya'' Keawket, 36, reportedly told police in Cha-Am that he was paid 13,000 baht to kill Khun Ae in Thepkasattri Road.
Once Cha-Am police have completed their investigation into an earlier murder, Khun Sanya will be returned to Phuket to assist with the investigation into who masterminded Khun Ae's killing and why.