Mob hurls abuse at Perth woman's accused killers
Wed June 27, 2012 2:03am
DOZENS of Thai police struggle to control an angry mob who hurled abuse at pair accused of killing a Perth woman.
The pair was in Phuket re-enacting their attack on Michelle Smith, 60, a travel agent who was on a promotional tour.
Police say they have confessed to the crime.
According to local media, they had tried to snatch Ms Smith's handbag in an apparent attempt to raise 300 baht ($10) that one of them owed a local restaurant.
Ms Smith, who was stabbed, died at the scene. A companion, Tammee Lynn, 42, was injured during the attempted snatch and grab.
The women were part of an Australian group returning to the Katathani Phuket Beach Resort after an evening meal.
During a re-enactment of the attack, 100 Thai police had to be deployed to control up to 200 people who jostled and yelled abuse at the suspects at the crime scene.
Police named the arrested pair as Surasak Boy Suwannachot, 26, and Surin Toptong, 37.
The Phuketwan online newspaper reported that Surasak was unable to pay for a meal at a restaurant. He said he would return later with the money.
He had been seen on a motorbike with Surin.
Police said they had a 10cm knife which they intended to use to cut the strap of a victim's handbag.
They said Ms Smith had been stabbed with the knife when she resisted the attempt to steal her bag.
The attack was recorded on closed circuit TV and later that helped identify the motorbike.
Both men had fled the resort island, but were identified by a man at the restaurant and tracked down by police.
Australian Ambassador to Thailand, James Wise, welcomed the arrests and said they provided reassurance to tourists.
Mr Wise told AAP Thai authorities had responded quickly to the crime and had spared no effort.
The police chief, General Priewpan Damapong, visited Phuket to highlight the government's concern over the impact the killing could have on the tourism industry.
The government has also promised to crack down on illegal tour operators and gangs operating in the taxi and service industries.