6th Vietnamese suspect sought in compatriot's murder in Thailand

TN News

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Thai police are searching for the sixth Vietnamese suspect in connection with the murder of a compatriot gang leader whose severed body was found stuffed in a garbage bin in a Bangkok apartment building.

The wanted man, known only as Minh, may still be hiding in Thailand, police speculated.

Police have already arrested five Vietnamese nationals suspected being involved in the March 20 murder of Hoang Trong Hung, 32, in an apartment rented by Tran Thi Nhung, 20, in Bangkok's Bang Phlat District.

The building's security guard told police that he had seen a group of Vietnamese nationals going upstairs to the room and had followed them, but that they ran away before he got there.

The guard entered the room and found Hung's dead, dismembered body in the garbage bin. The victim had several stab wounds and his hands and feet had been bound.

Footage from the apartment's surveillance cameras showed five men leaving the room about 5:30 a.m. that day.

Police arrested Nhung at a bus terminal from which she was about to depart back to Vietnam on March 21.

Nhung denied being involved in the murder.

On March 23, police arrested four more suspects. Tran Thanh Lam, 23, Nhung's brother, Nguyen Van Thao, 19, and Le Van Thang, 29 and a woman, Dang Thi Thuy, 24, were arrested at a rented apartment in Saraburi Province.

Nhung told the police her brother had been in contact with Hung's group, which is known to extort money from Vietnamese nationals in Thailand. The gang demands victims pay "protection" fees. Those refusing to pay are normally beaten.

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Some female victims have been raped and some men have had fingers cut off.

Nhung told investigators she did not know whether her brother was involved in the killing, as she was not in the room when the murder took place.

However, Lam confessed to police he had in fact killed Hung.

Lam said Hung demanded 50,000 baht (US$1,700) in protection fees from him. When Lam said he did not have the money, Hung threatened to kill him, according to Lam.

Lam claimed to police that he had killed Hung in self-defense, after Hung had twice extorted money from him and his sister.

Hung's gang is 100 members strong, according to Lam.

Thai police said the Vietnamese suspects had originally traveled to Thailand as tourists.

They then decided to work illegally as waiters and parking attendants. They have been in Thailand for four years.

Thai police said Lam may not be the only culprit in the murder. Their investigation is ongoing.

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