Central ThailandCrime

Demon drink – new kid on the block kills neighbour with stick

Yet another Thai man killed a “friend” “by accident” over a “misunderstanding,” this time involving alcohol, for a change.

A Buriram man who did not like being asked to pay for his booze has admitted hitting a drinking buddy over the head with a nailed stick but says he did not expect the blow to kill him.

Nang Rong police arrested Sitthichart “Bank” Prapa, 27 years old, after he struck 55 year old Prakob Chanakul with a piece of wood, killing him.

Bank, who was new to the village, heard cheering on December 4 and wandered over to the house for a look. He found a group of about 10 drunk people watching a Muay Thai match on TV. The drinkers, who meet there regularly, were passing around a shot glass of fiery white liquor, lao khao.

Bank joined the drinking circle and took his turn swigging from the glass. Somehow, Bank assumed the drink was free and said he only found out later that each drinker paid 20 baht whenever they need a new bottle. It’s hard to believe since this style of drinking goes on all over Thailand, all the time.

When the TV fight ended, the group moved outside and continued drinking. Three bottles down, they were starting to feel the effects. The regulars started a collection to buy another bottle and among them was the victim’s elder brother, 58 year old Somkiart Chanakul.

Bank said Somkiart handed him 40 baht (US$1.10) and told him to go and buy a bottle, which costs 115 baht. Perhaps taking advantage of his newcomer status, Bank claimed they expected him to pay the other 75 baht himself.

“That’s all the booze we need…I think you can buy it,” Somkiart declared.

Bank said he had drunk just one shot, objected to paying so much, and the two sides started to argue. Bank then strode over to Somkiart and hit him in the face, knocking him to the ground.

An enraged Somkiart and his younger brother Prakob attacked Bank with sticks. Bank grabbed another piece of wood and hit Prakob, injuring him sufficiently to require a trip to the local hospital. He was later transferred to a bigger hospital but died the next day.

Bank fled but was arrested the next day. He said he did not intend to kill Prakob and was shocked to hear of his death.

As police arrested him, his mother embraced him in tears, saying she didn’t think a Thai man would kill a friend by accident over such a small amount of money. What a senseless waste.

The drinkers gather to watch Muay Thai every week, but this was Bank’s first time. One regular observed…

“I can’t see why he had to get so bothered. Everyone contributes, but this guy would not put out a single baht.”

The victim’s wife, 55 year old Chaluay Chanakul has been unable to walk for 10 years since she was struck by lightning. She said Prakob looked after her well.

“He drinks regularly but he never argued with anyone,” she said.

Police have charged Bank with assault leading to fatal injury.

Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.