Thai police charge man with murder of Swiss tourist in Phuket


A 27-year-old man has been charged with the murder of a Swiss tourist in Phuket, a popular beach destination, Thai police said on Sunday.

Police spokesperson Krisana Pattanacharoen said that the man was arrested in connection with the death of the 57-year-old woman, who was found dead near a waterfall in the Vichit subdistrict in Phuket.

The spokesperson said that, following the collection of evidence and witness statements, Phuket provincial court issued an arrest warrant for the man, who has been charged with murder and robbery causing death.

“The cause of death is yet to be confirmed as an autopsy report is yet to be released by the authority,” Pattanacharoen said.

The police had earlier identified the suspect as a Thai national. He was arrested and questioned at Vichit Phuket police station.

According to police, the suspect was trying to collect herbs in the area, but noticed the victim swimming and attempted to steal her belongings.

A struggle ensued which allegedly led to the woman’s death. Police say they narrowed their investigation to this suspect since surveillance cameras showed his vehicle in the area at the time of the incident. Also, a physical examination after his detention showed fresh bruises and lacerations.

The 57-year-old woman had visited Thailand on July 13 under the Phuket Sandbox programme, which allows foreign tourists who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to visit Phuket.

Under the scheme, visitors do not need to spend time in quarantine, but have to stay on the island for two weeks.

After spending the initial two weeks in Phuket, the woman had travelled to Krabi island then returned to Phuket. Her body was later discovered partially clothed and covered with a black plastic sheet near a waterfall close to the hotel where she was staying.

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