A man is being held in custody today for the alleged murder of a 29-year-old transwoman whose body was found in a canal north of Bangkok.
Authorities arrested a man yesterday, identified as a 36-year-old delivery driver named Yuttaphon Piyawitthayakan, after they caught him on CCTV footage near the area where the body of Piyada Sorakul was found in a canal in Pathum Thani province.
The victim’s neck was found tied to a chain connected to 5kg dumbbell. Rescue volunteers noted that the chain had not been properly tied, causing the body to float upwards so that the corpse could be seen by bystanders.
An iPhone, necklace and cash were also recovered at the scene.
Police noted the victim had gone to Lumpini Park, where she had parked her car, on Tuesday evening. Yuttaphon told police he was driving in a bronze Honda sedan when he picked up Piyada along Wireless Road and attempted to rob her while threatening her with a knife.
According to the police, Yuttaphon confessed to going to the area with the intention of robbing a transwoman. He had targeted Piyada because he had seen her with a car and assumed she would be carrying a lot of money.
When Piyada fought back, Yuttaphon used a hammer to beat her to death before taking the body and dumping it in the canal, along with her belongings to conceal the evidence. He managed to steal THB1,400 (US$40) from the deceased.
Yuttaphon then drove his car and parked it at his home in Sai Mai district before fleeing on a motorcycle to Chonburi province where he was arrested by police.
A forensic autopsy of Piyada’s body found evidence of three counts of blunt force trauma.
If found guilty of murder, Yuttaphon could face the death penalty or life imprisonment.
An angry mob reportedly tried to attack Yuttaphon when he was taken into custody on Thursday evening at the Khlong Luang police station.
Many Thai news media reports on Piyada’s death focused on her beauty, a common occurrence in the cases of female murder victims due to the public’s fascination with such news.