Police officer talks suicidal Burmese man off bridge

PHOTO: A compassionate police officer talks down a suicidal Burmese man. (via Sanook)

A quick-thinking and compassionate police officer saved the life of a suicidal Burmese man in Bangkok. The Burmese man named Adee climbed onto the ledge of the Petch Uthai Road bridge in downtown Bangkok, distraught and threatening to jump to his death. It was an officer from the Makkasan Police who managed to talk him down.

Adee had walked onto the bridge after becoming depressed over losing his job and running out of money. He desperately wanted to just go home to Myanmar but had no money or means to get there. Feeling hopeless, he climbed up on the ledge, intent on killing himself.

Traffic halted in both directions as the suicidal scene unfolded in the centre of the bridge. Police arrived to intervene, including Makkasan police lieutenant colonel Narongdech Butnampetch. He approached Adee on the bridge and attempted to talk him down.

The officer spoke kindly to the distraught Burmese man but it was his actions that likely connected with the man. The police officer removed his official police uniform and sat down on the ground in his t-shirt, talking sympathetically to the suicidal man.

He asked Adee sincerely to think of him as an older sibling and heed his advice not to plunge off the bridge. The officer explained that the people of Thailand and the people of Myanmar were connected. He said they were all brothers and sisters. He then asked the man, as his brother, to step down off the ledge.

Adee soften and climbed down off the ledge and the tragedy was averted. The police officer’s compassionate words and calming actions clearly reached the desperate man, as Adee “graaped” – a traditional action of deep respect to the officer. He sat on the floor with his feet to the side, hands on the ground, and lowered his head to meet his hands in an expression of formal apology and respect.

Adee was then taken to the police station to recover and calm down, but he may face charges for the suicidal disruption.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai). Please also contact your friends or relatives at this time if you have feelings of loneliness, stress or depression. Seek help.

Bangkok News

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.

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