A married Chinese couple were tied up, placed inside suitcases and thrown into a river while still alive in Thailand, police have said.
The body of Wang Jun was found in a black suitcase floating in the Ping river in Kamphaeng Phet, central Thailand, on Tuesday afternoon.
Police divers are still searching for his wife Zhu Bing, 28, who is also thought to have been dumped into the river in a suitcase.
The pair had rented three villas with 13 other Chinese tourists in Pattaya, near Bangkok, after they arrived on February 12. The rest of the group have since returned to China.
The body of Wang Jun, 30, was found in this suitcase in the Ping river, Kamphaeng Phet, Thailand. Police divers are still searching for his wife Zhu Bing, 28, who is missing
Mr Jun, left, and his wife Ms Bing, right, had been renting three villas in Pattaya with 13 other Chinese tourists. The rest of the group has left the country
Police officers work to pull the suitcase out of the river. A driver and villagers have said that at least two suitcases were thrown into the river
Mr Jun’s body was found curled up inside the case with his arms and legs bound by red wire.
Fisherman Suthon Thapthan, who found the body, said he thought the case was loaded with ‘rotten fish’. ‘It was hard to open,’ he said. ‘But when I opened it, there was a man curled up inside and I was frightened.’
Police Lieutenant Colonel Jittipol Polponprueksa said they were investigating the murder and preparing two arrest warrants.
‘The victim arrived with his wife and she is missing. We are searching the river for her body, which we believe is also in a suitcase,’ he said.
‘A driver said he saw cases being thrown in the river and villagers have also given witness statements that they heard heavy objects landing in the river.
‘An autopsy examination confirmed that the victim died from drowning, so he was alive when he was put in the case.’
Police pictured searching for the body of Ms Bing. An autopsy has confirmed that her husband died from drowning, Thai police have said
Officers who interviewed villagers living near the area were told that a car had pulled up on Monday this week. They later heard at least two heavy objects crash into the water, which are believed to have been thrown from a nearby bridge.
Police identified the driver and traced the couple’s movements to their rented villa, where they said they found bloodstains and signs of fighting.
The driver, who has not been identified, reportedly told police that his passengers had thrown four bags into the river at three separate locations.
‘I was contacted through the car company to drive for a group of Chinese tourists,’ they said to police officers.
‘When I arrived at the house there were four Chinese people who started loading five suitcases onto the car and I noticed two of them were heavier than the rest.
‘I was told to deliver them to Tak province. However, when we were at Kamphaeng Phet I was ordered to stop and they unloaded one suitcase and threw it into the river, then they did the same thing later.’
Officers with the suitcase that Mr Jun was found inside. A driver for a group of Chinese tourists has said that three suitcases were thrown into the river
Police Lieutenant Colonel Jittipol Polponprueksa said that officers were running tests on the blood and fingerprints found in the house and also gathering the CCTV footage of the area.
They believe at least four people are involved in the alleged murder of the Chinese tourist and the disappearance of his wife, who they suspect was also murdered.
Immigration records reportedly showed that Wang Jun had a history of making frequent trips to Thailand, where he would travel by land to the Mae Sot area of Tak province near the country’s border with Burma, also known as Mayanmar.
A Reuters investigation last year found that Burma has become the centre of Asia’s meth production labs, which are largely controlled by Chinese drug trafficking syndicates connected to the notorious Tse Chi Lop, who has been dubbed Asia’s El Chapo.