A suspect wanted by police in connection to the murder of a British man last week in Thailand worked at a bar in Phnom Penh and had family ties in Cambodia, according to former colleagues and social media profiles.
Abel Caldeira Bonito, a South African national, has been named by Thai police along with U.K. citizen Miles Dicken Turner as prime suspects in the killing of Briton Tony Kenway, who was shot in the head while sitting in the driver’s seat of his Porsche in the Thai resort town of Pattaya on January 24.
Mr. Bonito had at one time worked at the bar in Phnom Penh. His former colleagues said they were shocked to hear of his reported involvement in the daytime shooting.
“He was a simple man. He respected the staff. He respected the boss. He never had any problems or caused any problems with anyone,” a former co-worker of Mr. Bonito said on Monday.
“He said he used to have problems outside Cambodia, and that he had been in jail, but was going to change himself,” added the co-worker, whose employer asked to have names withheld due to safety concerns. Mr. Bonito did not say where or why he had been incarcerated, the co-worker said.
After a few months on the job, Mr. Bonito announced that he was leaving to work for a business that imports duty-free products in Sihanoukville.
“He was very friendly with the customers,” his former employer said. “We didn’t want him to stop.”
“When I see the news from Thailand, I don’t believe it.”
The victim was reported to have allegedly been involved in dubious business dealings.
According to reports in Thailand, two suspects crossed the border into Cambodia last Tuesday through the Cham Yeam International Checkpoint in Koh Kong province.
However, Kim Ratana, deputy director at the checkpoint, said on Tuesday he could only confirm the British suspect, Mr. Dicken Turner, had entered Cambodia.
“The Thai side came to contact us to see if that name had entered,” Mr. Ratana said. “They asked us to search for only one English national.”
According to a Facebook page using the name and photograph of Mr. Bonito, the suspect’s mother and stepfather lived in Phnom Penh.