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Thailand charges Canadian over Indian gangster murder in Phuket
  • | AFP | May 30, 2023 07:27 AM
Thai police said on Monday they have charged a Canadian man they described as a mercenary with the murder of an Indian gangster in the resort island of Phuket.

National Police Chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas (R) speaks during a press conference regarding the extradition of Matthew Dupre (on screen), a Canadian man wanted over the suspected murder of Indian gangster Jimi 'Slice' Sandhu in Phuket on February 4, 2022, at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok on May 29, 2023.

Officers launched an investigation after Jimi "Slice" Sandhu -- whose nickname came from a distinctive scar on his face -- was shot and killed in February 2022.

Interpol issued a red notice last year for Canadian citizen Matthew Leandre Ovide Dupre in connection with the murder.

The 38-year-old was extradited from Canada and returned to Thailand late Sunday.

"He is quite a key suspect and a professional mercenary. He flew in to finish his job, and did not even bring a weapon," National Police Chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas told reporters.

Dupre was charged with premeditated murder, illegal gun possession, and firing a gun, a police statement said.

Officials said Dupre denies all charges.

Damrongsak said Dupre was a former soldier and mercenary who had worked in several countries, including Afghanistan.

He had arrived directly from Canada in the Thai capital Bangkok on a special Thai Air Force flight, Damrongsak said.

"It is a difficult case, no commercial flights or countries allowed the plane to refuel as they were concerned about hostage-taking," he said.

Officers will continue to investigate who supplied the weapon.

Canada and Thailand have an agreement to provide mutual assistance, including extradition, in criminal cases.

Thai state prosecutor Intranee Sumawong said the foreign office had reassured Canadian concerns over Thailand's death penalty, under a new extradition bill.

Sandhu was shot on February 15, 2022, after he flew in on a private jet from Malaysia days earlier.

Police obtained CCTV footage showing two men jumping from bushes, opening fire on Sandhu and then fleeing into the night.

Sandhu's car had had a GPS tracker taped to it before the attack, the 2022 Interpol notice said.

Sandhu was deported from Canada in 2016 over a string of criminal offences, resurfacing when he was detained in India over a ketamine factory in 2018.

A second man, Gene Karl Lahrkamp, also wanted in connection with the murder, died in a small plane crash in 2022, according to Canadian media.

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