BANGKOK (AP) — A Spanish man who is the prime suspect in the gruesome murder of a fellow Spaniard was in Thai custody Monday after being arrested in Cambodia, where he fled after the victim's dismembered body was recovered over several days from Bangkok's Chao Phraya River.
The suspect, identified as Artur Segarra Princep, 36, was arrested Sunday evening at a restaurant in the Cambodian coastal town of Sihanoukville where he had checked into a guesthouse a few days earlier, regional Cambodian police chief Gen. Chuon Narin said Monday.
"We received a request from Thai police to arrest this man, and after launching an investigation we found him," Chuon Narin said.
Thai police sent a helicopter to Cambodia and it returned with the suspect Monday evening.
Thai police have identified the victim as David Bernat, who was described as a consultant. They have speculated that he was abducted, tortured and forced to transfer a large amount of money before being killed. Thai police have declined to publicly comment on media reports of large transfers of money from Bernat's bank account to accounts in Spain and Singapore.
At a news conference, Thai National Police Chief Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda told reporters that Segarra "only said that they were friends," referring to him and the victim.
Police obtained records showing that Segarra had withdrawn money from ATM machines in the Bangkok area as recently as Thursday, and also had video of him with an unidentified woman and in a black Isuzu pickup truck. Immigration police said Segarra has visited Thailand frequently, but his latest visa expired late last year.
Records show that Bernat also visited Thailand many times, arriving most recently on Jan. 19 on a flight from Iran. He was last seen alive while leaving his Bangkok apartment on Jan. 20. Medical examiners said they believe he died between Jan. 25 and Jan. 27, with the cause being suffocation.
Thai media reports over the weekend said Segarra's motorcycle was found at the Thai border, and a Thai woman described as his girlfriend was quoted saying that he fled Bangkok after seeing his picture on Thai television news reports.
Associated Press writers Nattasuda Anusonadisai in Bangkok and Sopheng Cheang in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, contributed to this report.