October 30, 2014
In the small Thai town of Pai, a Canadian tourist has been shot dead by a Thai policeman. John Leo Del Pinto died instantly and his girlfriend, who was also shot, was reported to be in stable condition in a hospital in Chiang Mai.
The victim was only 25 years old and was shot twice, once in the face and once in the torso. His girlfriend was pregnant and got shot in the shoulder.
The Thai policeman has been charged with pre-meditated murder. He reported that the couple was having an argument on the street and when he intervened, they grabbed his gun. According to him, his gun went off three times accidentally. The police officer was later released on bail.
Witnesses report that there was a couple that appeared to be drunk and was arguing in the street. The local policeman was having a meal at a nearby restaurant and thus intervened when he became aware of the couple. Reports also suggest that the policeman in question, Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat is an unstable and notorious individual who had tried to kill himself a few weeks ago. It is believed that he was drunk at that time.
Another witness reported that the couple was definitely fighting and the restaurant owner had asked the policeman to stop the fight. This description of the events was similar to the police officer’s statement.
The victim’s girlfriend is known for her aggressive behavior toward resident farangs and Thais. A few weeks earlier, she struck a policeman in a bar and was seen in another fight with her boyfriend at a party.
This is not the first time that a tourist has been involved in an incident involving the police. In 1995, two British tourists were murdered by a Thai policeman in Kanchanaburi. The man was shot and killed and his girlfriend was run over by the policeman’s car and then shot in a style similar to being executioner. In that particular case, the policeman was arrested and was given a life sentence.
However, justice is not always served in a place like Thailand. Often, the government and police departments collide in a cover-up and tourists get into situations because of their behavior such as drinking too much alcohol, becoming abusive, getting into fights etc. While the Thais put up with their behavior, they do lose their patience sometimes when such events occur.
Yet another tourist is thus dead and another Thai policeman has been charged with murder. All these incidents have a negative impact on the Thai tourist industry and not only affect the people involved in such matters but Thailand overall. It is about time that the Thai police are hold accountable for its actions and that tourists make an effort to behave themselves when visiting Thailand.