Homeowner beats cannabis thief to death in northeast Thailand

Photo via Sanook

Police let off a man who allegedly beat a cannabis thief to death in Udon Thani province in northeast Thailand last month. Police say he had the right to protect his assets.

Yesterday, 55 year old Wanna filed a case with the Commander of the Udon Thani Provincial Police force against her neighbour who escaped prosecution after allegedly beating her younger brother, 49 year old Khamdee, to death.

Wanna, a widow from Wang Sam Mo District, told police that her brother Khamdee attempted to steal their neighbour’s cannabis plant from his garden on the night of November 15. She said Khamdee used marijuana since he was a teenager.

The neighbour caught Khamdee in the act and physically attacked him. He stamped on Khamdee until the village headman intervened. Khamdee was left unconscious and unresponsive. The incident was captured by CCTV.

Khamdee spent the night in a cell at Wang Sam Mo Police Station and was charged with “brawling.” In the morning, the thief paid a 500 baht fine and was released.

After the incident, Khamdee did not recover and was vomiting blood and passing blood in his stools every day. On November 23, his relatives took him to Wang Sam Mo Hospital where he received treatment for a few days.

On November 27, the cannabis thief returned home from the hospital because he said he didn’t want to receive treatment anymore. At that time, the doctors had not been informed that Khamdee had been assaulted, they said.

Khamdee succumbed to his injuries and passed away on December 1, leaving his 18 year old son without a father. Khamdee was cremated the next day.

Khamdee’s relatives say he had no underlying health issues and his death was a direct result of their neighbour’s actions.

Wanna says that the neighbour has not offered any assistance and told her that if she wants money, she will have to sue him. Wanna said the police were not interested in fighting her case because her brother was guilty of theft.

Wanna decided to seek justice for her brother by contacting the Chief of Police for Udon Thani province Pol. Maj. Gen. Pisanu Unhaseri yesterday.

Police chief Pisanu said he is willing to listen to both sides and investigate the possibility of charging the neighbour with “killing without intention” or “acting recklessly causing death.” He said both parties will be invited to give testimony in court.

Khamdee’s autopsy results will be used as supporting evidence in the case, said the police chief.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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