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CRIME

Spaniard held over grisly Bangkok river murder

The prime suspect in the grisly murder and dismemberment of a Spanish national in Bangkok has been arrested in Cambodia, police said Monday.

Spaniard held over grisly Bangkok river murder
The body was found in Bangkok's Chao Praya river. Photo: Ole.Pophal/Flickr

Multiple body parts belonging to businessman David Bernat were found floating in Bangkok's Chao Praya river last month.   

Police believe he was kidnapped and murdered for financial reasons, with investigators saying they have traced more than $1 million moved from the victim's bank account after his death.

Last week they named their chief suspect as Artur Segarra, 36, also a Spanish national, saying they were confident he remained inside Thailand because he had recently withdrawn money from a cash machine inside the country.

 

 

But Cambodian police said Segarra was arrested in a restaurant on Sunday in the city of Sihanoukville.

“We arrested him yesterday late afternoon,” Chuon Narin, police chief of Kampong Som province, told AFP on Monday.   

He was later handed over to Thai police in the eastern province of Trat.

Thailand's Channel 3 broadcast pictures of Segarra, sporting a baseball cap and a Manchester United top, handcuffed and in Thai police custody.   

The gruesome case has dominated Thai media coverage in recent days with television networks airing grim footage of officers hauling Bernat's remains out of the river.

Police questioned a Thai woman over the weekend who was allegedly seen with Segarra in recent days.

Investigators initially struggled to identify the victim. Last 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 network of canals, and it is not unusual for bodies to be dumped in the city's waterways. But it is rare for a foreigner to meet such a grisly fate.   

Cambodian police have returned a number of high profile criminal suspects to Thailand in recent months, including one of the alleged perpetrators of last summer's Bangkok bombing and an Australian wanted for his alleged involvement in the murder of a fellow national and former Hells Angels member in Pattaya.

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CRIME

Spain church attack suspect to undergo psychiatric testing

The Moroccan suspect held in connection with a machete attack on two Spanish churches, killing a verger and badly injuring a priest, will undergo psychiatric testing, a court said Tuesday.

Spain church attack suspect to undergo psychiatric testing

The case is being handled by the Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s top criminal court, with the judge in charge asking that “two doctors conduct a psychiatric evaluation of the suspect”.

The suspect, 25-year-old Yassine Kanjaa, was arrested at the scene after the attacks on two churches in the southern town of Algeciras last week.

The Audiencia Nacional said the psychiatric evaluation, which will be carried out by doctors from the court’s forensic department, would provide “information about the legal responsibility” of the “presumed jihadist”.

Prosecutors have opened a terror probe and, on Monday, the court remanded the suspect in custody without bail on murder and terrorism charges.

During the deadly incident on January 26th, the suspect entered San Isidro church and attacked its priest with a machete, leaving him seriously wounded before entering Nuestra Señora de La Palma.

There he attacked the verger and chased him out of the church where he killed him.

‘Targeted priests and infidels’

Court details released on Monday said the attacker had also injured three other people, including another Moroccan man whom he “considered an infidel” because he had renounced his faith.

It said Kanjaa’s actions could be “qualified as a jihadist attack directed at both priests who profess the Catholic faith, and Muslims who, according to the suspect, don’t follow the Koran”.

The court said the suspect fits the profile of a “self-indoctrinated terrorist who acts individually without direct ties to a specific terror group but operates in the name of jihadist philosophy”.

Last week, Spain’s left-wing government refused to rule out mental illness and the police have described him as “unstable”.

The court said Kanjaa became indoctrinated “rapidly” within the space of up to six weeks, citing witnesses as telling police that just before that, he “was drinking alcohol and smoking hashish”. Then he suddenly started listening “regularly to the Koran on his mobile phone”.

One of Kanjaa’s neighbours told AFP something similar on Friday, saying he had changed radically six weeks ago, growing a beard and wearing a long robe.

Officials have said Kanjaa was served with a deportation order last June but had no prior convictions and was not under surveillance.

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