A suspect and a witness have been detained, while a second suspect is still at large

Crime: Police have arrested a suspect and detained an eyewitness in connection to the murder of a 50-year-old taxi driver, whose body was found above Babesa zero point in Thimphu on April 21.

The eye witness, Kinley Gyeltshen, was detained for not reporting the crime to police, while the main suspect, Tandin Gyeltshen, a 27-year old man was arrested from his house at Olakha on April 22.  Tandin Gyeltshen has confessed to the crime, the chief of police, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel, said at a press conference yesterday.

Police said Tandin Gyeltshen’s accomplice, Karma Dorji, 22, is still at large, and is suspected to have travelled to Phuentsholing after committing the crime.

Karma Dorji, from Paro, is  5’5” tall and has fair complexion. Any information to his arrest will be rewarded Nu 10,000. The identity of the informants will kept confidential,  said the police

Police said it was confirmed through eyewitnesses and taxi drivers that Tandin Gyeltshen and Karma Dorji boarded the deceased’s taxi from Phuentsholing to Thimphu on the night of April 20.

During interrogation, Tandin Gyeltshen admitted that he and his friend, Karma Dorji, travelled to Thimphu in the deceased’s taxi around 9pm to attend his late mother’s funeral.  The taxi fare was fixed at Nu 2,000 before they left Phuentsholing.

Tandin Gyeltshen told police that he had brought five phials of spasmo-proxyvon capsules, and about five packets of dry marijuana grass, which he handed over to the taxi driver on the way for safe custody in case the men were frisked at the check-posts.

After reaching the Damchen fuel station in Olakha around 3am on April 21, the taxi driver demanded a fare of Nu 5,000 and threatened to report to police about the drugs if he was not paid the said amount.

Despite Tandin Gyeltshen and Karma Dorji’s request to not report the matter to police, the taxi driver had been adamant, and that was when Tandin Gyeltshen punched him on the face.  He then stabbed him twice on the back with a knife (dozom) that belonged to the deceased.

Tandin Gyeltshen told police that he then pulled the taxi driver to the passenger’s seat and drove off.

The men then dumped the body on the roadside and to ensure that he didn’t survive, Karma Dorji slit his throat.

As an accomplice to the crime, police have detained Kinley Gyeltshen, 26, since April 23.  He told police that he received a call from Tandin Gyeltshen on April 20, asking him to arrange Nu 2,000 for the taxi fare.  After reaching Thimphu, the men picked him from his house located at the vegetable market and all of them drove towards Olakha.  He confessed to police to have witnessed the crime, after an argument ensued between Tandin Gyeltshen and the taxi driver.

On April 21, a passerby who had spotted the body with multiple stab wounds around 7am reported to police.

The deceased was identified as Kankhu, 50, from Dophoochen gewog, Dorokha, Samtse.

Police also found the taxi, a Maruti Suzuki EECO belonging to the deceased parked near hotel Riverview on April 22. Some taxi drivers informed police after they spotted bloodstains on the parked car.

Police said it was a case of voluntary manslaughter, and Tandin Gyeltshen and Karma Dorji would be charged under section 140 of the Penal Code of Bhutan, 2004.  Police have also obtained an arrest warrant for Karma Dorji.

Police records show that Tandin Gyeltshen is a habitual offender, while Karma Dorji also has records of being involved in possession of controlled substances.

By Dechen Tshomo