Russian tourist murdered in Phuket cannabis factory. Prime suspect flees as chilling details emerge of a 41-year-old Russian man who was found dead. The main suspect, a Tajik tourist, fled Thailand as an investigation ramps up. Police suspect an illicit drug link to what appears to have been a violent murder on the holiday island. 

A 41-year-old Russian tourist was found murdered in the Chalong sub-district of Phuket on Wednesday morning. Significantly, police found his body at a private residence being used as an unlicensed marijuana-growing factory. Similarly, officers revealed that their main suspect, a Tajik national, simultaneously flew out of the country on Tuesday night. At the same time, forensic officers suggested that the Russian only died within an 8 to 12-hour time window. The victim’s body was discovered by police on Wednesday morning after his girlfriend raised the alarm.

Emergency services remove the body of 41 year old Mr Artur Garnikovich from a two story residence in Chalong, Phuket on Wednesday. Mr Artur (inset) had been dead for 8 to 12 hours, according to police experts. The property was in use as a cannabis factory.

Police in the Chalong sub-district of Phuket are exploring a marijuana drug link to a brutal murder discovered on Wednesday. The victim was a Russian tourist who entered Thailand in January this year.

At the same time, officers are aware that the prime suspect has already left the country.

In short, it is understood he flew out from Thailand on Tuesday, March 12th at 9.38 pm.

Suspect from Tajikistan in Central Asia. He flew out of Thailand on Tuesday night at 9.38 pm. He is linked to the unlicensed marijuana factory in Chalong

The suspect is a tourist from Tajikistan, a poor Central Asian country near Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, China and Kyrgyzstan.

The tourist entered Thailand on a 60-day tourist visa and is believed to be linked to an unlicensed cannabis farm where the body was found.

The chilling discovery took place in the Chalong sub-district of central Phuket.

The 41-year-old Russian man was identified as Mr Artur Garnikovich. On Wednesday, police forensic officers suggested he had only been dead for 8 to 10 hours. 12 hours at the outset.

The Russian only entered Thailand on January 28th, another tourist. He was granted a 90-day visa on arrival. His body was discovered after his Russian girlfriend sought assistance.

He had been missing for 2 days. 

Girlfriend contacted car hire firm to track her boyfriend. Using GPS, an executive at the firm traced it to a wooded area near the two-story Chalong home

At length, she contacted a car rental firm from which he hired a white Honda City vehicle.

An executive with the firm assisted the woman in finding her missing boyfriend. Afterwards, they both tracked the car by GPS to a wooded area near the house where his body was found.

After that, police were called as the house appeared locked. Officers forcibly entered the two-story premises.

Following this, the body of Mr Garnikovich was found sprawled on the ground floor as police made their way in.

In short, he had been stabbed in the throat. 

This was early on Wednesday morning before 11 am. Meanwhile, police discovered an extensive marijuana farm inside the rented house. 

The property is located in Village No 6, Soi Sai Nam Yen, in the Chalong Subdistrict. 

Police revealed the body was found in a pool of blood amid evidence of a violent struggle amidst cannabis plants. Multiple stab wounds, one to the neck 

Meanwhile, police at the scene were led by Police Lieutenant Colonel Warawut Sensob, Inspector of Chalong Police Station. 

In brief, he described the victim lying in a pool of blood. Furthermore, he was dressed in black shorts and a white T-shirt. He had wounds on the side of his neck and throughout his body. Initial investigations revealed signs of a violent struggle. 

Certainly, police at the scene told reporters that the area near the body was strewn with disturbed cannabis plants. The death of the Russian man came following a protracted struggle with his assailant.

Consequently, officers ordered the transfer of the body to Vachira Phuket Hospital for an autopsy.

From the onset, suspicion fell on a Tajik acquaintance of the victim. It is already confirmed, that he has fled Thailand. 

Rented property to be used initially as a travel firm

Officers learned that the house was rented to a Thai woman.

She is reported to be the girlfriend of a foreign tourist. The house was rented for use as a travel company but subsequently, an enterprise growing and selling marijuana was established.

Certainly, investigators want to find out more about the link to cannabis. Undoubtedly, officers are at the same time building a profile on their main suspect, the Tajik national.

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This is the latest incident linked to rising criminality in Phuket.

In particular, crime linked with Russian and Central Asian gangsterism. At length, this includes kidnapping, extortion and attempted contract killings.

In November 2023, Thailand began offering a 90-day visa to foreign tourists from Russia on entry into the kingdom. This concession runs up until the 30th of April 2024.

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Further reading:

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