Taiwanese authorities are seeking assistance from Thailand to track down a Thai national named as suspect in the deaths of a couple whose bodies were recovered from a parked car outside the Taoyuan high-speed rail station.
The 35-year-old suspect, a Thai-Chinese male surnamed Wang (王), reportedly had financial disputes with the couple, also from Thailand, who operated a brokerage agency that recruited Thais to work in Taiwan, Taoyuan police said.
The couple, surnamed Lee (李) and who are also of Thai-Chinese background, had been reported missing. Police found their bodies inside a white BMW sedan on Friday. They determined that the couple had been beaten to death, considering that bruises covered their bodies. Investigators found the wife to be pregnant with twins.
Photo: Hsu Cho-hsun, Taipei Times
Wang was determined to be a suspect, but had departed on a flight to Thailand on Thursday.
Public closed-circuit camera footage showed a person appearing to be Wang emerging from the car on Thursday morning, said Chen Chih-peng (陳志鵬), head of criminal investigations at the Jhongli District (中壢) police precinct in Taoyuan.
Chen said the suspect carried one piece of luggage from the parking lot, hailed a taxi for Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and boarded a 10:40am Starlux Airlines JX741 flight bound for Bangkok.
A task force has been created to question persons of interest and handle other investigative matters. It is comprised of the Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office, local police investigators, the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) and other law enforcement agencies.
Wang and the couple met on Thursday at a Thai workers’ dormitory in New Taipei City’s Tucheng District (土城), apparently to settle a financial disagreement, as Wang had worked on accounting at the Lee’s brokerage agency, Chen said.
The three had known each other in Thailand for several years, and had come to Taiwan together to attend separate technical colleges before returning home, he said.
The wife, Lee Fen-fang (李芬芳), returned to Taiwan in 2011 and obtained residency through her mother, a Taiwan resident, later marrying and starting the brokerage with her husband in Tucheng, Chen said.
Wang came to work for the couple as a business partner, given that he is fluent in Mandarin, Chen said.
Wang had apparently requested a higher share of profits as the company grew, although the Lees kept him on payroll as a salaried employee, leading the dispute that allegedly ended in their killings, Chen said.
Wang allegedly beat the couple on their heads with what has been determined to be a blunt metal object, Chen said, adding that Wang is thought to have put the bodies in the car and driven them to the high-speed rail station after the killings.
The CIB’s International Criminal Affairs division officials said yesterday they have contacted Thai authorities and have provided them with all their information on the suspect and the case.
The Thai government is taking responsibility for the investigation, and the suspect could be indicted and prosecuted in Thailand, they said.
Although Taiwan could request an extradition for local prosecution, officials are waiting to see how the case unfolds and what cooperation is offered by Bangkok before deciding on the matter, the officials said.
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