The head of Thailand’s Zoological Park Organization (ZPOT) was shot and killed Saturday as he chaired a meeting looking into the mysterious disappearance of an albino barking deer.

The person suspected of the killing was himself said to be a senior ranked veterinarian at the famous Songkhla Zoo, in southern Thailand.

The vet was himself later later found dead in his residence, also at the zoo, having died from a self inflicted gunshot.

In what has been an ongoing issue in the Thai media over the past few months, Mr. Suriya Saengpong, ZPOT director-general was visiting the zoo from the Thai capital Bangkok after earlier claims by Varawut Silpa-archa, Thailand’s natural resources and environment minister, that he did not believe claims by the zoo that the albino deer had been eaten by a snake at the zoo in February this year.

Mr. Varawut had ordered an investigation.

“I was told that Mr. Suriya went to the (zoo) to meet its director at the latter’s office,” the secretary to the minister said on Saturday afternoon “He then called a meeting with zoo officials but I don’t know the details of the talks.

“During the meeting, one veterinarian based at Songkhla Zoo suddenly pulled out a gun and fired shots at Mr. Suriya in the face and body. He died instantly. The vet fled” the minister’s secretary added.

Mr. Suriya, 58, had been shot at least 14 times. The vet, a Mr. Phuwadol had been in the room with Mr. Suriya at the time.
Mr. Phuwadol was later found dead with a single gunshot wound to the head inside his own living quarters reports say.
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