Two men have been arrested in Thailand over the stabbing murder of Australian travel agent Michelle Smith on the holiday island of Phuket last week, according to reports.
The men are being questioned over the murder of Mrs Smith, 60, who was stabbed in the heart in a suspected botched bag snatch on Phuket’s west coast on Wednesday.
The Phuket Gazette reports that two are in custody in Chumphon province, in southern Thailand, and are expected to be returned to Phuket later today.
Phuket governor Tri Augkaradacha announced the arrests today during a meeting with local officials and tourism industry representatives to discuss tourist safety issues in Phuket, the Phuket Gazette said.
Local police are expected to release further details about the identity of the two men and how police tracked them down at a press conference later today. Mrs Smith, from Butler in Perth’s northern suburbs, was part of a group of 10 Perth travel agents who arrived in Phuket a week ago to review new tourist sites.
The mother-of-two had been out to dinner with a travel agent colleague, Tammee Lynn, 42, before the pair decided to walk back to to the five-star Katathani Phuket Beach Resort where they were staying in Kata Noi Bay.
They were attacked by two men who approached them on a motorcycle about 10.30pm.
The men attempted to grab Mrs Smith’s bag before stabbing her in the chest, piercing her lung and heart. As they tried to escape they also slashed Ms Lynn’s arm.
At first the shocked women attempted to walk back to the hotel before Mrs Smith collapsed. She died on the street.