3 sought for killing young lovers on Khao Cheechan birthday trip

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A Bangkok couple celebrating a birthday in Pattaya were shot dead near the golden Buddha image at Khao Cheechan.
A Bangkok couple celebrating a birthday in Pattaya were shot dead near the golden Buddha image at Khao Cheechan.

Arrest warrants have been issued for three southern Thailand men for gunning down a pair of high school sweethearts at Khao Cheechan’s big Buddha image.

Paveena Namuangrak, 20, was shot four times – twice in the head – while her boyfriend, Anantachai Jaritrum, was shot twice in the head. Both died at the scene in the parking lot of the park July 29.

The Chonburi Provincial Court on Tuesday issued warrants for three men, reported by Thai news sources to be Sanyan Srisuk, 43 of Nakhon Si Thammarat, and Phuket natives Panya Yingang, 39, and Jirasak Uaithan, 34.

All three were charged with murder, illegal weapons possession and firing a weapon in public.

Police investigators, led by the head of Provincial Police Region 2, believe jealousy was the motive for the personal, close-range slayings. Paveena was a coyote dancer in a Nakhon Pathom bar where her boyfriend also worked.

Anantachai and Paveena, sweethearts since ninth grade, had come to Pattaya with Sanya and another friend. They hired a driver to take them on a tour of the Pattaya Floating Garden, Nong Nooch Tropical Garden and the Big Buddha Mountain for Paveena’s birthday.

They group had just wrapped up their trip to Khao Cheechan and were walking back to their car. Sanya and Warathep Masungnern, 20, stopped to buy water when the shots rang out near the vehicle.

Driver Noppadon Boon­samer, 33, was behind the wheel when the shooting started and ducked to the floor. He survived unhurt.

The couple was not as lucky. Both were shot at close range, with Anantachai shot once in the temple and through his hand into his torso as he tried to defend himself. Paveena was shot twice in the back and, once she was down, twice in the head by the passenger-side door.

Warathep said he didn’t know why anyone would want to kill his friends, saying only that Paveena was very attractive and often was hit on by men.