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CRIME

Missing Spaniard’s body parts fished out of Bangkok river

Thai police on Thursday said multiple body parts found floating in Bangkok's main river belong to a Spanish businessman who was likely kidnapped and extorted before he was murdered.

Missing Spaniard's body parts fished out of Bangkok river
The body was found in Bangkok's Chao Praya river. Photo: Ole.Pophal/Flickr

The gruesome case has dominated Thai media coverage in recent days with television networks airing grim footage of officers hauling human appendages out of the city's Chao Praya river.

The first body part was discovered on Sunday with six additional finds since then at different locations along the river.

General Panya Maman, the officer leading the murder investigation, told reporters on Thursday the victim was a Spanish businessman who entered Thailand on January 19th.

“I am convinced that within next 48 hours this case will be resolved and that all perpetrators are foreign gangsters – although we suspect that some Thai nationals may have had knowledge (of the crime),” he said.

An official at the Spanish embassy said they had yet to receive confirmation of the victim's identity.

AFP is withholding the man's name until his family is notified.

Panya said the murder likely took place between January 25th and 27th.

Detectives are working on the theory that he was kidnapped and coerced before he was killed.

“Police have also detected that after his death they (his killers) transferred his money to several countries including Singapore, Spain and within Thailand,” Panya said.

Investigators initially struggled to identify the victim. Earlier in the week police said they believed the man was of Asian origin and suggested that Chinese triads might have been involved because of the method chosen to dispose of the body.

The wide Chao Praya winds its way through Bangkok, which boasts a large networks of canals, and it is not unusual for bodies to be dumped in the city's waterways.

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CRIME

Spain seizes first underwater drug smuggling drones

Spanish police said on Monday they had seized six underwater drones capable of transporting large quantities of drugs from Morocco to Spain and broken up a gang suspected of manufacturing them.

Spain seizes first underwater drug smuggling drones

Officers seized six of the so-called “drone submarines” and arrested eight people in raids carried out in Barcelona and the southern provinces of Málaga and Cádiz, a police statement said.

Police said it was the first time they had seized such devices, which are officially known as unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs).

They believe the gang made underwater drones “capable of bearing big loads” for use by other criminal organisations.

“These devices could allow drug traffickers to transport large quantities of narcotics remotely across the Strait of Gibraltar,” the statement said.

The drones had up to 12 motors each and a range of 30 kilometres (18 miles).

That is easily enough to manage an underwater crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar separating Spain from Morocco which measures just 15 kilometres (nine miles).

Three of the drones were due to be delivered to a French drug ring to “transport significant amounts of cocaine”, the statement said.

The gang also built false bottoms into vehicles to allow gangs to smuggle drugs, as well as “unmanned semi-submersible vessels” that could carry up to 200 kilogrammes (440 pounds) of product.

Their customers included criminal gangs in Denmark, France, Italy and Spain, police said.

Spain’s physical proximity to Morocco, a major hashish producer, and its close ties with former colonies in Latin America, a major cocaine producing region, have made it a key entry point for drugs bound for Europe.

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