Thai police suspect Spaniard involved in countryman's death

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Thai police on Friday released photos of a Spanish man suspected of involvement in the killing of a fellow Spaniard whose dismembered body was recovered piece by piece over the past week from Bangkok's Chao Phraya River.

Police Gen. Panya Mamen said authorities were seeking Artur Segarra Princep, 36, on the basis of evidence gathered so far. The victim was described as a consultant but has not been officially named yet, though police did not dispute leaked accounts in Thai media identifying him as David Bernat.

Police speculate that Bernat was abducted, tortured to force him to transfer a large amount of money, and then killed. They have declined to publicly comment on reports of large transfers of money from Bernat's account to Spain and Singapore.

"We believe the suspect is still in Thailand, and is also in Bangkok or its vicinity," Panya said. Police had obtained records showing that Segarra had withdrawn money from ATM machines in the area as recently as Thursday, and also had video of him with an unidentified woman and in a black Isuzu pickup truck.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 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.

Panya said it was likely the two men knew each other.

"We firmly believe that Artur is involved with this case, though we are unsure if he is the mastermind, or the person that just carried out the actions, or whatever role," he said. "At this time we are still gathering evidence."


This story has been corrected to show suspect's age is 36, not 37.