Police are investigating if the confessed killer of a woman and her five-year-old boy is part of a criminal racket with ties to the Japanese Yakuza.
They are seeking to find out if part-time taxi driver Siriphong Kanjananiwit acted alone – because he owed his girlfriend a large sum – or if he was ordered to kill her by a criminal gang.
Siriphong has tattoos on both arms, which are complicated and rare – suggesting they were done outside Thailand.
Police also have inside information from the Department of Special Investigation, which has arrested three Japanese men for criminal conspiracy.
They are suspected of being part of a protection racket and are reportedly known as the Yamaguchi gang.
The gang is alleged to have collected fees from Japanese-owned businesses in Silom and Patpong red-light district and profited from prostitution in both areas.
Police took Siriphong to re-enact his crimes at 14 sites yesterday, including Pathum Thani’s Lat Lum Kaew, where the body of Sunant Srisuwan, 38, was found on Sunday, and Bangkok’s Taling Chan, |where the mutilated body of |Chow Makino, five, was found on Tuesday.
In a pink taxi, Siriphong demonstrated how he drove and allegedly shot Sunant, plus her children Makino and Phichaya, who he claimed were sitting on the backseat. He aimed, without looking back, at the woman and her children with a .357 revolver, with his right arm over his left, which he insists, held the steering wheel.
He allegedly fired 14 rounds in total from two clips of bullets.
The daughter Phichaya, 13, survived and has been treated at Rama IX Hospital for five gunshot wounds.
She underwent surgery yesterday to remove bullet fragments from her shoulder and will need two months to recover physically.
Siriphong is a skilled shooter. He owns three handguns and won the runner-up prize in a recent shooting competition.
Police are sceptical about his claim that he fired two clips of bullets into the backseat of a car without looking, and that boy was hit and killed by “stray” bullets. An initial inspection of the boy’s dismembered head revealed gun residue where a bullet entered near his cheek, suggesting a close-range shot.
Amid confusing claims from the suspect, a police source said they had been contacted by a man who identified himself as “Joe”, who said he was Sunant’s friend.
Joe said Sunant had complained that Siriphong owed her nearly Bt1 million.
He said Makino was the son of her Japanese boyfriend, and she had ended the relationship with him after learning he was already married.
Joe also dismissed claims by Siriphong that she wanted him to kill her two former husbands, saying Sunant was a kind person and had helped many people with financial problems.
Chief investigator Pol Maj General Amnuay Nimmano dismissed media claims the “police were lucky” because Siriphong had confessed to reporters that he committed both murders.
“Police have exercised their expertise in unlocking the cases, because they have linked both murders together, which made them get nearer to the killer.
“We also put added pressure on him so he got intense and decided to contact his mother, and a relative, both of who later persuaded him to give himself up,” he said.
‘Stray’ bullets from shooting champ
Siriphong Kanjananiwit is sticking to his claim that Chow Makino, the five-year-old boy he allegedly shot dead and later dismembered, was killed by “stray” bullets.
He has claims he only intended to kill the boy’s mother, who was his girlfriend.
“I fired all seven bullets in the chamber, and reloaded another seven bullets and fired them all, while driving. I didn’t know who was hit. I saw Chow again at home after I dumped his mother’s body. I thought he might have been hit by a few bullets, but did not think he would die,” he said.
He said Phichaya, the daughter of Sunant Srisuwan, the woman he killed, begged him not to shoot her, and he responded by say-ing: “I’m not going to kill you. I apologise that our fights have ended up with you becoming a victim.”
Siriphong is skilful at shooting. He |owns three handguns and recently won |the run-ners-up prize at a competition |held by a police division.
“I have always done target practice, and my choice of target is mainly human dummies,” he said.
A Nakhon Ratchasima native, Siriphong has two children, each from marriages that broke up. He met Sunant at a Bangkok police station two years before they started seeing each other. He claims their relation-ship soured after she asked him to kill someone.