BANGKOK: Thai cops said Thursday they are hunting two foreigners for the gangland-style execution of a Briton in a seedy beach resort, but are unsure if the pair have fled the country.
Tony Kenway, a 39-year-old father-of-four, was killed Tuesday morning with a single shot to the head outside a gym in the eastern city of Pattaya.
Harrowing CCTV footage showed an assassin calmly open the door of his victim’s parked red Porsche, shooting him once and then fleeing on a motorbike driven by an accomplice.
Thai police named the two suspects as British national Miles Dicken Turner and South African Abel Caldeira Bonito.
“The court has issued an arrest warrant for them,” deputy national police spokesman Colonel Krissana Pattanacharoen told AFP.
“They are jointly charged with premeditated murder, illegal possession of a firearm and also carrying weapons without permission,” he added.
Krissana declined to speculate on the motive for the killing, but said the pair were identified through witness testimony and evidence gathered over the last two days.
Bonito was suspected of being the gunman with Turner acting as the getaway driver, he added.
Thai media quoted unnamed investigators as saying the pair might have fled to Cambodia by land.
Krissana said detectives were still working on piecing together the pair’s movements, adding that immigration authorities had been informed of the suspects’ identities.
The killing has returned the spotlight to the popular beachside city Pattaya, which has a notorious reputation for its seedy nightlife and criminal underworld links.
Murders of both foreigners and locals are not uncommon while the city is renowned as a haven for international fugitives and criminal gangs, many of whom operate online scams.
Local media said the victim worked in IT, frequented a Pattaya gym and had apparently lived a comfortable lifestyle in Thailand for several years with a local wife.
On his Facebook page Kenway had a picture purportedly showing him kneeling in front of Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn during what appears to be an official audience when the monarch was Crown Prince.
On Wednesday Kenway’s wife changed her Facebook cover photo to a simple black screen with the word “RIP” written in white.