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Son of Spanish film star accused of murdering Colombian surgeon on Koh Phangan in Thailand


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A man with long hair in handcuffs is escorted by a police officer
Daniel Sancho Bronchalo was arrested late last year by Thai police on suspicion of the murder.
  • In short: A Spanish national is accused of murdering a Colombian surgeon on the Thai island of Koh Phangan. 
  • Daniel Sancho Bronchalo is charged with murdering Edwin Arrieta Arteaga and concealing his body.
  • What's next? He has pleded guilty to hiding the body but not guitly to all other charges.

The son of a famous Spanish actor has gone on trial in Thailand, accused of killing a Colombian surgeon on a popular tourist island known for its full Moon rave parties.

Warning: This story contains details that may be distressing to some readers.

Daniel Sancho Bronchalo, 29, was indicted by prosecutors in October last year over the death of Edwin Arrieta Arteaga, whose remains were found stuffed in plastic bags at a landfill on Koh Phangan.

Lawyer Juan Gonzalo Ospina Serrano, who represents Edwin Arrieta's family, told reporters at the Koh Samui Provincial Court before the trial that the family trusts Thai prosecutors to deliver justice.

"They are grateful and hope that Thai law is forceful and that the truth can be told," he said.

The charges include premeditated murder, concealment of a body and destruction of other people's documents, which is related to the alleged damaging of Mr Arrieta's passport

He pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder and destruction of documents but pleaded guilty to hiding the victim's body.

The charge of premeditated murder carries a possible death penalty. The maximum sentence for damaging documents carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a 100,000 baht ($4,150) fine. The concealment or damaging of a body carries a year in prison and a 20,000 baht ($830) fine.

Fishing vessels and boats used to ferry tourists sit idle along a deserted beach with turquoise waters below green mountains.
Koh Phangan is known for its parties that run all night.(AP: Adam Schreck)

The trial is opening with statements from witnesses brought in by the plaintiff, said Mr Sancho's lawyer, Apichart Srinual.

When asked whether he was confident about his defence case, he said "it depends on the evidence", adding that "there are a lot of witnesses. It depends on what they will say."

Mr Sancho was driven to the court in a closed car and was not visible to reporters waiting outside.

His father, Spanish actor Rodolfo Sancho, also came to the court but declined to comment. 

A man with short grey hair and grey and white beard is surrounded by reporters with microphones
Spanish actor Rodolfo Sancho was in court for the opening of his son's trial.(AP Photo: Suthipong Charoenjai)

Mr Sancho, a chef, was arrested in August after the remains of Mr Arrieta were discovered in landfill.

Police said Mr Sancho came in to report a missing person and was subsequently detained.

Police said he later reportedly confessed to killing and dismembering Mr Arrieta and dumping the body parts in the landfill and the sea, though he denied that his action was premeditated.


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