Local politician murdered, wife's ex-husband the suspect

Police inspect the crime scene in a pavilion at a temple in Sri Banphot district, Phatthalung province, as emergency workers prepare to wrap the body of the 54-year-old former local leader who was shot dead in full view of mourners on Thursday night. (Photo by Assawin Pakkawan)

PHATTHALUNG: A local politician was gunned down by his wife's jealous ex-husband while attending funeral rites at a temple in Sri Banphot district, in full view of mourners, on Thursday night, according to police.

The shooting occurred about 10.45pm in a pavilion at Wat Tham Khao Poo in tambon Khao Poo, said Pol Lt Col Wut Wanna, investigation chief at Sri Banphot police station.

Sathit Kaewkong, 54, a former chairman of Khao Poo tambon administration organisation (TAO), died on the spot, bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds to his neck and back.

A loaded 9mm pistol was in his possession. Three spent .38 cartridges were found at the scene. Bottles of alcohol, glasses and food were scattered over the area.

Witnesses told police that Mr Sathit went to the temple to attend funeral rites for a relative, Sitthichok Klangthongduang. 

After monks prayed, hosts brought out food and alcoholic drinks to serve the mourners. While they were eating, a man arrived on motorcycle, walked close to the former TAO chairman, and shot him in the back twice. The gunman then fired two more shots at the victim, as mourners scattered in panic.

The killer then fled on the motorcycle.

Pol Maj Gen Tharatcha Thammapat, Phatthalung police chief, said that after questioning witnesses investigators went to the home of Buree Klaocheed, 38, of Sri Banphot district. 

The surrounded the house, but when they entered the suspect had fled. 

Investigators said Mr Buree, a rubber plantation worker, was the former husband of Ralisa Nuanla-ong, 31, now wife of the slain local leader.

Mr Buree had two children with Ms Ralisa before they separated. She and Sathit had one child.   

Mr Buree did not have a new wife and had frequently quarrelled with her new husband.

Pol Maj Gen Tharatcha said police would ask Phatthalung court for a warrant for the arrest of Mr Buree. 

A local leader in Sri Banphot district had reportedly contacted a senior police officer, offering to bring the suspect in to surrender on Friday evening.

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