BANGKOK — Two Israeli men were arrested Monday morning at Don Mueang International Airport for what police say was a mafia-style hit on a compatriot the day before.
Police intercepted Dolev Zuarez, 23, Eyal Bokal, 25, Monday morning at one of the capital’s airports, where they were allegedly fleeing Koh Samui after murdering fellow Israeli Maor Israel Malul, 33, on the island.
Police said all three were members of Israeli organized crime.
“They were part of the mafia, so the killing was related to that,” police Col. Krissana Phattanacharoen said Monday. “Now they’ve been sent back to Surat Thani.”
Krissana said that police believe Zuarez and Bokal were planning to make their way back to Israel.
The pair were involved in violent crime several years ago in Israel, Krissana added, but were not known to have committed murder.
Malul was reportedly with his wife Rachel Ozana at about 2pm on Sunday near the Samui International Hospital on Cheng Mon-Chaweng Road in Bo Put District. In footage recorded from a security camera, a sports utility vehicle is seen striking him and someone else as they attempt to flee on a motorcycle.
Another man exited the vehicle and stabbed Malul, according to police. He died later at a hospital. Ozana was injured but survived.
Police identified the murderers as Zuarez and Bokal and started looking for them. The pair allegedly abandoned their car in front of Rajabhat University’s island campus.
“The men killed the victim over a mafia drug conflict,” police Gen. Weerachai Songmetta said Monday morning. “The dead had just been released from a prison sentence in Israel. All three men were mafia members in their home country. The victim came to vacation here, but the two men followed him to get revenge.”
Weerachai said police would continue investigating the Israeli mafia network in Thailand.
“We want to check whether Thais are involved, especially on Samui. This case doesn’t end here,” Weerachai said.
According to The Times of Israel, Malul was recently released from 20 months in Israeli prison for aggravated assault of a crime boss. Police believe Malul was part of a rival gang. His brother was shot and killed in 2015 outside his home in Israel.
Two other Israeli nationals at the scene, Meir Kriaf and Dana Kriaf, were also injured.
Krissana said Zuarez and Bokal face charges of premeditated murder.