Police doubt story of teen shot on his 18th birthday

PHOTO: Teen shot outside Bangkok as he celebrated his birthday. (via Thai Rath)

Reports of teen gangs and violence are on the rise in Thailand, and one young man got a mournful birthday surprise, though police are sceptical of what transpired. An 18 year old teen was shot and killed in a tragic incident that occurred in the Greater Bangkok province of Pathum Thani.

The incident was reported by Thai Rath, and according to their sources, police arrived at the scene of the shooting around 2am. The incident took place near the 256/500 kilometre marking of Lat Lum Kaew Road in the suburb province north of Bangkok.

There, officers found the victim, identified as Assanee “Joe” Phianha, already dead. He was wearing a motorbike helmet and his body was on the ground with a single gunshot wound to the ribs. His Honda Wave motorbike was tipped over on the ground nearby.

Police gathered statements from witnesses to the shooting but later stated that they do not believe the story presented by the dead teen’s friend about what events lead to his death. They have opened a full investigation into the incident.

At the crime scene, the teen died of a single shot from a gun. But a Honda Jazz motorbike was also found at the scene with evidence of shots having been fired at it. Police recovered evidence of five gunshots fired in the attack.

The 18 year old friend of the deceased told a tale of a group of friends innocently celebrating a birthday when they were suddenly attacked, allegedly without provocation. He said that a big group of friends had been celebrating Joe’s recent birthday at his house. The group got hungry and decided to go get some barbeque pork with sticky rice to eat just after 1.30am.

He explained that as they were returning, a group of two men and a woman on motorbikes across the street gestured at them in a way that seemed confrontational. Unclear on what they were doing, Joe and his friends decided to approach them and ask what they wanted.

But, according to the dead boy’s friend, they were shocked to be met with immediate gunfire. Joe was shot, but unaware of it, the teen went and got a sword to fight back. Before he could, he was overtaken by the wound and collapsed and died.

The gunmen then fled the scene, according to his friend’s account.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.