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The wanted men flee Kata Noi beach road after killing Michelle Smith

Phuket Travel Agent Killer Hunt Boosted by Top Policemen

Friday, June 22, 2012
PHUKET: Police have intensified their hunt for the killers of Australian travel agent Michelle Smith, adding top officers and experts to the investigation.

The Deputy Commander of the national Thai Royal Police, Lieutenant General Pansiri Prapawat, assumes control of the case tomorrow and security camera footage experts in Bangkok are already extracting clues.

Details have emerged from their examination of what the two men were wearing when they knifed the mother-of-three to death in the quiet beachside destination of Kata Noi at 10.30pm on Wednesday.

Police are hoping that the experts can eventually decipher from the grainy footage the number plate of the Honda Dream motorcycle the men were riding when they tried to snatch Mrs Smith's bag but fled empty-handed.

As well as the lieutenant general, a top policeman from the southern provinces headquarters, Colonel Pisan Jundilok, has been sent to Phuket to help form three separate task forces.

One group is looking at the getaway route, seeking more security camera footage, a second group is probing current suspects among known criminals, and the third is engaged with deciphering the security camera footage.

A top-level meeting at Phuket City's Provincial Hall saw promises of large groups of volunteers engaged to restore Phuket's reputation for security and safety.

The ''thousand eyes of the pineapple'' is a Phuket idea designed to boost the small number of police on the island by organising and equipping local groups with walki-talkies.

The nine Western Australian travel agents who were on a familiarisation trip to Phuket with Mrs Smith have returned to Perth, where they were greeted by friends and relatives last night.

Officials at Vachria Phuket Hospital in Phuket City said today Mrs Smith's body, kept in the morgue there since she was killed, will be repatriated today to Perth on flights via Bangkok.

Comments

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Lots of Police out near Laguna area checking bikes, more than I have seen before, I wish them luck.

Posted by Ged on June 22, 2012 11:11

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Probably a 500 baht helmet blitz. 1/2 for the station, 1/2 upstairs.

Posted by innocent bystander on June 22, 2012 11:46

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rawai yaba boys, the one on the back looks familiar...

Posted by JingJing on June 22, 2012 12:48

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so very sad but Phuket is still far safer than any major Australian city on any night of the week. Let's keep perspective here. Good luck to the authorities with the case and hopefully justice will be served.

Posted by trevor on June 22, 2012 12:49

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I have to agree with Trevor. This is a tragedy but I still would consider Phuket far safer than any major Australian city on any night.
Another tragedy would be if this action by some vicious thugs hurts Phuket's tourist industry and the many very good Thai people I have come to love and trust.

Posted by Arthur on June 22, 2012 19:41

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I am confident they will catch these guys. The Royal Thai Police and even some local police agencies can be quite effective when they are motivated to catch a criminal, and I believe they are quite motivated in this case.

Posted by fw on June 22, 2012 22:43

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Let's hope that those murderes are captured asap. Although there are lots of CCTVs around the city, i suggest start neighbor watch program as it is used in US and Australia etc. "http://www.usaonwatch.org/" or "http://www.watchsa.com.au/". People sure have lots of private CCTVs and webcams and even slightest pic or video can help police to solve crimes.

Posted by Vesa on June 24, 2012 19:55

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There is another CCTV camera located directly opposite the camera that caught the attack. It is located 2 and half meters up on the wall, about 3 meters from where the attack took place and pointed in the direction of the killers approach. you can see this camera on google maps streetview. It should have caught the suspects, head on, faces front and literally just a couple of meters from the camera lense. Where is the footage from this one?

Posted by Concerned on June 25, 2012 12:26

Editor Comment:

Not all security cameras work.


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