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Death at the Diablo: Soderlund and Ljung reenact the Phuket killing

Phuket's Murder Replay: A Horror Show for Three Swedes

Wednesday, August 3, 2011
PHUKET: Murder reenactments are one of the peculiarly grim characteristics of killings on Phuket, but few of them have the shock-horror impact of the one in a gated Phuket City estate this afternoon.

By a quirk of timing, as murder-charge Swedes Tommy Viktor Soderlund and Johan Sebastian Ljung play-acted in Phuket City's upscale The Lantern, their Swedish victim, Maksim Schantz was being cremated at a Buddhist temple on the other side of Phuket's sprawling capital.

The phrase ''smoke and mirrors'' never appeared more appropriate. Murders of expats, it seems, are much more rare on Phuket when committed by Thais than when committed by other expats, or so the past few cases reveal.

A crowd of local residents gathered at The Lantern - word gets around when there's a show on - as a convoy of police vehicles swept in, with the two young Swedish men emerging to perform. Enter stage left, in handcuffs.

Interest centred on the expensive three-storey duplex where Schantz's green Kawasaki was parked, and where the knifing took place.

The two 26-year-old Swedes have insisted that murder was never their intention. This afternoon, as the actors went about their business, it was easy to see what went wrong.

The plan, according to Soderlund, who created a call centre business in Pattaya in 2008, was to bind Schantz with wrist restrains then to force him to pay back the three million baht that Soderlund believed Schantz owed him.

If the mission was accomplished, blonde-haired Ljung told police, 30 percent of the money would come his way for travelling from Pattaya to Phuket with Soderlund to help recover the cash.

Outside Schantz's expensive pad at The Lantern, the plan went horribly wrong. Sodelund appeared out of the dark on Monday evening to confront his former business partner and pointed a gun at him.

But when Ljung moved in close, Schantz, a large, solidly built biker, shrugged off the wrist restraints. Ljung reached and grabbed Schantz's t-shirt with both hands, forgetting that he was already gripping a 12-centimetre knife . . . and the curtain came down on Schantz, and the script.

The big man grabbed for his bleeding throat and staggered off towards the guard house at the entrance to the estate, and the two Pattaya travellers, spattered with blood, had no choice except to make their exit rapidly.

Apprehended within 24 hours by some sharp Phuket police work, the pair now face intense questioning about whether the killing was premeditated, and the nature of Soderlund's shady business with other Swedes and Norwegians in Pattaya.

Security camera footage taken yesterday at Pattaya's Foodland has shown Soderlund's Thai girlfriend being given 100,000 baht by one of his Swedish friends before the girlfriend caught a flight to Phuket carrying the cash.

Soderlund told police that he bought the handgun from a man in Bangkok for 35,000 baht as he and Ljung drove a hired pickup to Phuket last month to track down Schantz.

On Monday evening - surprise, surprise - they emerged from a neighboring duplex at The Lantern to greet Schantz.

Soderlund's scam involved telephoning companies in Sweden and suggesting that the Pattaya call centre could take care of all problem phone calls for a fee of 5000 baht - or the Swedish kroner equivalent. From what both men have told Phuket police, there was no shortage of takers.

Schantz's deceit was simpler, Soderlund and Ljung told the Phuket officers. He simply sent massive numbers of bills for the equivalent of 15,000 baht . . . and trusting Swedes transferred the money a remarkable number of times.

Soderlund's fuse was lit, though, one year ago, when Schantz apparently paid a Swede or Norwegian working for Soderlund to steal a list of Soderlund's potential victims, and informed on Sonderlund to police. Sonderlund and six others served three weeks in jail for not having work permits.

Revenge? High drama? Most certainly. And even the reenactment with a volunteer policeman substituting for Schantz was gripping.

Today's replay fortunately had none of the tragic consequences of Monday night's original performance.

But the rest of the lives of the two surviving stars remain in the balance, and that was no cause for boos or applause, or an encore.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Rest in peace my friend. You Will never be forgotten.

Posted by D on August 4, 2011 02:07

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Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian please get it right? The motorcycle is a Kawasaki Ninja with the number 883 on it's number plate.
Yamaha Diablo, in your dreams. Just be correct please.

Posted by Robin on August 4, 2011 03:27

Editor Comment:

We had it right in a previous article and it's fixed now. We will struggle on to find your perfection, Robin.

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Excuse me, at least three people who had their whole life ahead of them have been destroyed here. Three mothers have lost their sons, a horrific crime committed and we are worried about what breed of bike the guy had? I wonder if the editor is the one who needs to "get it right"?

My condolences to the families and friends involved.

Posted by Martin on August 4, 2011 10:45

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Methinks a little Boyd has hatched into a Robin Ed- either that or there's a second cynic with too much time on their hands nit-picking!

Posted by Mister Ree on August 4, 2011 12:24

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Mister Ree, I have never been anybody else but myself, Robin Sole. The Boyd person was somebody else, not me.
The ed is quick to lambaste any comenter on their replies, all I did was just to ask for a correction of the facts.
No hurt to anybody and not nit-picking. Not perfect yet but I am working on it.
Good day to you all.

Posted by Robin on August 4, 2011 13:32

Editor Comment:

I thought lambaste was served on Sundays for the whole family and always tasted delicious.

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Easy-going with Thai Administrations, let greedy and selfish foreigners to enjoy long-stay in Thailand while making money illegally.
Thousands of those bad-apples are living in hidden houses, bungalows or apartments in Pattaya, Koh Samui and Phuket and with easy access to internet and mobile phones, are operating websites to sell online products or services with payments by PayPal or bank-transfer to oversea account.
A better double-check through shared data by Immigration, Police, Labor Department and TAT Registration, would be the best long-term solution to foreign gangs in Thailand.
Thai Police should have, the sooner the better, an Special Police E-commerce Division able to crackdown all illegal commercial websites operated from Thailand.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on August 4, 2011 13:49

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@Whistle-Blower: I have heard that at least 90% of these long-stay lazy and selfish foreigners are trying to get work in the dive industry. You should investigate this.

Posted by Gristle Mower on August 4, 2011 20:33


Friday August 7, 2020
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