Rubber tree feud ends in brutal slaying: Husband and wife, Nitikorn and Chananthita, gunned down, set ablaze in rural Trang. Ongoing land feud revealed as the motive for the cruel double murder. Two killers were swiftly arrested by local police and the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) in the region.
A middle-aged rubber farmer and his trader wife died on Monday in a vicious double murder. Police investigators dispatched to the highland scene in rural Trang province quickly surmised that what was meant to look like a devastating motorbike accident was, in fact, an elaborately planned homicide. In brief, two suspects were quickly arrested and have confessed.
Police have released details of yet another terrifying and brutal murder in rural Thailand. A husband and wife were mercilessly attacked, shot dead, and set on fire by assailants.
At length, the motive for the attack was revenge over a previous sharp exchange of words. The gruesome crime took place on January 15, 2024. Both victims lived in the Mueang area of southern Trang province.
Trang is a scenic coastal province in southern Thailand on the Malay peninsula facing the Strait of Malacca.
Murder most foul committed in a highland area near Mueang Trang as a middle-aged farmer and wife returned from working rubber trees on a motorbike
The location was the mountainous region of Ban Hin Ngom, Village No. 6, Nam Phut Subdistrict, Mueang Trang District.
The victims, 39-year-old Mr Nitikorn, a local farmer and his wife 40-year-old Ms Chananthita were found at the scene.
The couple were returning from working on a remote rubber plantation.
They were just 5 metres apart and Mr Niktorn’s remains were badly charred. The bodies of both victims had been set alight. The killers had used tyres to intensely burn the human remains.
Previously, it is understood that Mr Niktorn had upbraided one of the killers for encroaching on his land.
Tensions between the men rose in the intervening period. Indeed, Mr Niktorn carried a homemade gun to work on his rubber trees.
Police on Monday revealed testimony from the killers suggesting a deepening feud between Mr Nitokorn and one of them.
Local provincial police responded in force and carried out a swift and effective investigation which got to the bottom of the crime at a remote hillside location
The Deputy Inspector (Investigation) of Mueang Trang Police Station, Police Lieutenant Colonel Amorn Wat Khok, received the initial report.
At length, it related to the discovery of bodies on the mountain in suspicious circumstances. Police responded with a swift and comprehensive investigation.
The crime scene, located approximately 2 kilometres from the nearest road, required a challenging ascent. The investigative team included officers from Mueang Trang Police Station and Trang Provincial Police.
In addition, there were officers from the Crime Suppression Division, Division 6 and forensics experts. They were joined on the heights by rescue personnel from the Trang Charity Foundation.
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Upon reaching the scene, the investigators found the charred remains of Mr Nitikorn and his wife, Ms Chananthita, who was also a trader. Both victims sustained gunshot wounds. In short, Mr Nitikorn was shot in the right shoulder and Ms Chananthita in the neck.
Crime driven by intense personal hatred. Two killers planned the murder of the couple over a long-running feud between one of them linked with rubber trees
The attackers had callously set fire to their bodies and the couple’s motorcycle. Police told reporters that this was a crime driven by intense hatred.
The attackers’ meticulous plan involved concealing the murders as a motorcycle accident. Undoubtedly, this was a harebrained idea.
Authorities discovered a broken metal brake lever believed to be from the perpetrators’ vehicle, underlining the calculated nature of the crime.
However, evidence, including bullet fragments and impact analysis, was carefully collected at the scene.
The investigation progressed rapidly.
Afterwards, police arrested two suspects, Mr Karin and Mr Sittikorn, within three hours of the crime. The assailants, 24 and 33 years old, respectively, confessed to their part in the vicious murders.
Evidently, their motivation stemmed from a longstanding feud with Mr Nitikorn over the cutting of palm oil trees. In any case, the conflict had escalated.
Significantly, the attackers still expressed anger at being scolded by the victim.
The killers told police that the motive in killing Ms Chananthita was to protect their identities.
Killers waited to ambush the hard-working couple as they returned from tapping rubber together. Shot Mr Nitikorn off his motorbike leading it to crash, toppling its riders
Mr Sittikorn revealed the disturbing details of the planned and deadly attack.
He described hiding behind a large tree on a hill, armed with a long shotgun. Meanwhile, Mr Nitikorn and his wife were seen returning from tapping rubber.
Mr Karin, the driver of the attacker’s motorcycle, waited at a distance. They were positioned at a height in the road as the farmer and his wife returned home from tapping rubber.
When the victims approached on their motorbike, Mr Sittikorn shot Mr Nitikorn, causing the motorcycle to crash. He then shot Ms Chananthita, ensuring both victims were incapacitated.
The assailants then went further in their brutality.
After ordering Ms Chananthita to lie on the ground, they set fire to the motorcycle and shot her again. Mr Nitikorn’s pistol, which had fallen during the attack, was used to silence Ms Chananthita.
One of the killers recounted the horrifying scene of Ms Chananthita, still alive, crawling away with an axe in hand. Mr Karin, observing her survival, utilised the homemade gun – belonging to the deceased – to end her life.
Underlying motive was a dispute over palm oil trees. The deceased man was adamant about his ownership rights which eventually goaded his killer to murder
The motive behind the attack was traced back to a dispute over palm oil trees. Mr Sittikorn acknowledged previous conflicts with the deceased, with arguments escalating whenever they crossed paths.
At length, Mr Nitikorn was known and loathed for the legal certainty with which he stated his position.
The assailants had devised a plan to exact revenge, ensuring the deaths appeared accidental.
Relatives of the deceased, including Mr Nitikorn’s older sister, expressed shock at the sudden and brutal nature of the crime. 46-year-old Ms Kanika said she never knew about the feud with the perpetrator.
Describing her brother as hardworking and non-confrontational, she voiced objections to granting bail to the killers. At the same time, She called for the full application of the law against them.
Double murder serves as a warning to foreigners how easily a homicidal animus can develop in Thailand
The investigation is being led by Police Colonel Pongpanot Chukaew and a dedicated team from the Crime Suppression Division.
At first, they confirmed that it was certainly a premeditated crime. Subsequently, they uncovered the perpetrators’ attempts to disguise the crime as a tragic motorbike accident.
Even so, the assailants were swiftly apprehended, as police quickly saw through their efforts. Meanwhile, their confessions revealed the detailed planning of this hideous act of revenge.
The suspects, now in custody, face charges of conspiracy to commit murder and violations of firearm laws. In addition, they will also face charges of premeditated murder.
Scolding or derogatory words in Thailand can be fatal
The grim incident highlights the underlying tensions in rural Thai communities.
Undeniably, there is a culture where scolding words spoken can quickly turn into homicidal animus.
In short, petty disputes over even minor resources can escalate into murderous revenge.
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A case in point is another double murder of a Thai Canadian couple in Khon Kaen in mid-December. The couple had an ongoing dispute with a local neighbour over parking access to their respective properties.
54-year-old Michael Nixon and his 47-year-old Thai wife Anurak, were subsequently murdered by the man.
Police linked the attack to a visit by a party of friends earlier on the night of Thursday 14th December 2023.
Later it was learned that the fatal feud between the couple and the man extendeded previously to their dogs.