Chinese man arrested in Thailand on suspicion of drowning wife insured her for millions, say relatives

  • Dead woman’s family suspected foul play in swimming pool death
  • Thai police say man admitted beating and drowning his wife
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 8:46pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 December, 2018, 8:57pm

A man from northern China has been arrested in Thailand for killing his wife in a hotel swimming pool in Phuket, mainland media reported.

Family of the victim, whose name was not revealed in the report, said Zhang Yifan, a resident of Tianjin, killed his wife to claim insurance policies worth more than 30 million yuan (US$4.35 million).

Relatives claimed that he had taken out many policies for her in the months before her death and said he forged her signature on the contracts, news portal enorth.com.cn reported.

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Last week, Tianjin police agreed to investigate a claim of fraud against Zhang made by the woman’s father.

The victim’s parents said they hoped Zhang could be extradited to China, where they believed he is more likely to be sentenced to death if found guilty of killing his wife.

Lawyers advised them extradition from Thailand to China on such a serious charge was complex, so the father decided to make the fraud claim.

Zhang took his wife and their 20-month-old daughter to the Thai island on October 27. Three days later, the man informed his parents-in-law that his wife drowned in the hotel pool on October 29.

Zhang returned to Tianjin with his daughter on October 31. He flew back to Phuket with his in-laws to deal with the aftermath of his wife’s death.

The parents of the victim suggested reporting the death to Thai police and seeking compensation from the hotel. Zhang agreed to their proposal.

They went to the police station on November 2, where Zhang was asked by officers to stay for questioning. Some hours later, Zhang admitted to police that he had killed his wife because he “did not want to live with her any longer”.

He told police that he beat his wife before holding her head under water until she drowned.

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The woman’s parents said they had suspected Zhang was lying as their daughter was a good swimmer. Their doubts were reinforced when they saw bruises on her body.

Other relatives of the woman found 18 life insurance policies bought by Zhang at his house. They were worth a total of more than 33 million yuan to the husband.