The arrest of Methee Singthanee, 58, of Maha Sarakham's Wapi Pathum district, was announced at a press conference at the Muang district police headquarters in Khon Kaen on Sunday morning.
In the middle of last week, a car plunged into the water from the bridge across the Chi River at Ban Nong Bua Dee Mee in tambon Tha Phra of Muang district of Khon Kaen. Police found in the car's boot the naked body of Thitiphan Phakdi, 63, of Nakhon Phanom's Si Songkhram district. His wife Sa-ard was unconscious but stilll alive in the car.
Mrs Sa-ard told police that three men - Mr Methee, Mangkorn Sritrachatmuli and Surapol Polso - had killed her husband and hurt her.
Information from her led police to arrest Mr Methee late on Saturday night at a hotel in Muang district of Ubon Ratchathani province. Found in his possession were a black Mitsubishi car, 50,020 baht in cash, one three-baht weight gold necklace, an amulet and one mobile phone.
According to Pol Lt Gen Detnarong Suthichanbancha, acting Region 4 Provincial Police chief, Mr Methee confessed that he, Mangkorn and Surapol planned to kill Thitiphan and Mrs Sa-ard. Mr Methee claimed that all five them, including Mrs Sa-ard, had formed a team of gamblers which had cheated many rich people of millions of baht during the past ten years, but it was Thitiphan and his wife who always took the lion's share of the money.
Last week, the three made an appointment for Thitiphan and Mrs Sa-ard to see them at a resort in Maha Sarakham province. From there, they took the couple in a car to a cottage near Mr Surapol's house in Manchakhiri district where they beat them up, forcing them to hand over valuables and cash.
Thitiphan was then strangled to death with a loin cloth and Mrs Sa-ard was knocked unconscious. Thitiphan's body was put in the boot of the black Mitsubishi car and Mrs Sa-ard in the front seat. Mr Methee then drove the car to the bridge across the Chi River in Tha Phra district of Khon Kaen and pushed it down into the water to make it look like an accident.
The other two suspects, Mr Mangkorn and Mr Surapol, are still at large.