Tariq Ahmad Bhat
An American man and a Thai woman checked into a hotel in Chiang Mai on Sunday evening. By the following morning, the American was dead, and the woman had disappeared. Investigators strongly suspect the man was a victim of crime.
A maid of an undisclosed hotel on Changklan Rd in Chiang Mai’s Chang Khlan subdistrict found the body of Tariq Ahmad Bhat when she entered the room to clean it. Mr Bhat, a 56-year-old American citizen, was located in room no. 304, face-up on the bed. He was wearing a button down shirt and black boxer shorts.
Police and forensic investigators from Mueang Chiang Mai Provincial Police Station arrived at the hotel shortly after being notified of the discovered. The on-scene medical examiner from Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital reported that Mr Bhat had been dead for at least 12 hours.
“We did not find any visible signs of violence on Mr Bhat’s body,” Deputy Inspector Pol Capt Mondritsa Bungam said. “In his backpack, we found several personal documents, among them a driving license from Virginia and next to his bed was an empty cup of coffee.”
Police initially thought Mr Bhat had died in his sleep as a result of a medical issue. However, when officers interviewed the staff of the hotel, the story took a surprising and unexpected turn.
According to a hotel worker, Mr Bhat checked in to the hotel about 18:00 the previous day, Sunday, August 19, accompanied by a Thai woman. “He paid for only one night,” Pol Capt Mondritsa revealed. About an hour after they arrived, they ordered a cup of coffee, toast and jam and these were sent to their room. The Thai woman answered the door and took the tray inside.”
The following day, the pair was due to check out but noone had emerged from the room by noon, and the maid knocked on the door. When she entered, she noticed Mr Bhat’s stiff body on the bed, Pol Capt Mondritsa said.
Hotel staff testified that they had not noticed the Thai woman leaving the hotel but police deemed her absence to be suspicious.
“Lots of Mr Bhat’s valuables were missing. We believe that the woman stole them. We only found a 50 baht bill and a Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus member card.” The card> is an airmile loyalty card.
“All the evidence points to Mr Bhat having been murdered,” Pol Capt Mondritsa said. “However, we must wait for the autopsy to confirm the exact cause of death.” Meanwhile, all of Mr Bhat’s personal belongings were collected as evidence bags and the coffee mugs to check for fingerprints.
Local rescue workers took the body to the morgue at Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital. Police are trying to identify the Thai woman who arrived with the victim and are scrutinisding CCTV footage in and around the hotel.
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