• Kyodo

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Thai police said Saturday they have arrested and charged a Malaysian man for the slaying of two Japanese businessmen in a Bangkok suburb in late March.

Police identified the suspect as George Fernandez, a 64-year-old Malaysian.

Officials said earlier in the day that a Thai man was also arrested in the case, but regional commissioner Wutthi Phuawade said the second man was not a murder suspect because he was just forced to move the bodies by Fernandez.

According to police, Fernandez lured Tokyo businessman Yoshio Kojima, 53, and Tatsuya Hisagane, a 52-year-old company owner who served as Kojima’s interpreter, to Thailand on the pretext of a business deal. He fatally shot them one after the other on March 25 and 26, police alleged.

Fernandez has admitted to calling them over to Thailand and inviting them to his Bangkok home, police said. But he has denied killing the pair, and said two other Japanese men came to his house as the three were meeting, shot Kojima and Hisagane and fled the scene.

Police said they have no evidence so far indicating anyone other than Fernandez was involved in the slayings.

Fernandez was found to have purchased a luxury automobile and exchanged huge sums of money, and investigators said they suspect he took the money the Japanese men had after killing them. The Thai newspaper Thairath reported Saturday that police found 5 million baht (15 million yen) in cash at his home.