Jailed murder suspect says victim was neighborhood bully

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A 23-year-old man arrested for the shooting death of a supposed CD vendor in South Pattaya told police he shot the victim because he was, in fact, a neighborhood bully who regularly robbed and assaulted workers in the area.

Woranat Phuengphai, 23, was apprehended Aug. 4 two days after Nathee Kerthong, 34, was found shot fatally in the chest inside the Soi VC’s fence Aug. 2. Groups of witnesses said he’d been attacked by two or three youths, then shot once after jumping the hotel’s fence. Police seized a hand-made shotgun pistol and two shells.

Woranat Phuengphai and Pakorn Ruengruen have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the shooting death of Nathee Kerthong. Woranat Phuengphai and Pakorn Ruengruen have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the shooting death of Nathee Kerthong.

The suspect’s friend, Pakorn Ruengruen, 20, was also arrested at the time on an unrelated gun charge, with police confiscating another shotgun pistol.

At the time, Nathee’s father, Pranom Kerdthong, 72, said his son had gone out to buy pirated CDs to sell at a local market and didn’t know why someone would shoot him. Police had speculated the attack might have been related to a personal dispute or drugs.

According to Woramat, however, Nathee took money and drugs off of young men working in the area’s gay bars and assaulted them when they refused to pay. Before the shooting, Woramat told police Nathee had again robbed him of 10,000 baht.

The two got into a fight. Wormat said Nathee stabbed him with a sharp stick and he shot Nathee in the chest at close range in retaliation, police reported.

Wormat was charged with murder and both men were charged with illegal weapons possession.