The Japanese have spent the past 60 years promoting a message of peace in the world. Unfortunately for one young Thai man, traces of the Samurai warrior ethic can still be found among the legions of salarymen toiling away in offices in Bangkok. In the early hours of August 17, Pol Lt Kiatsak Kasikun, the duty officer at Khlong Tan Police Station in Bangkok, received a call that someone had fallen, or had maybe been pushed – the details were, and remain, unclear – from a high building. When he arrived at the scene, Lt Kiatsak found the body of a young man, later identified as Suphon Choothong, a 25-year-old from Phitsanuloke, wearing only a T-shirt and a pair of underpants. Suphon’s pants, somewhat mysteriously, were lying about a meter away from his body. Next to the body a woman, Kannika Thupbucha, 32, was weeping and wailing, and when the police arrived she could take her sorrow no more and collapsed in a faint. When she came round again, she was in such a confused state that the police decided she was unfit to give a statement. It was when police picked up the third person involved in the incident, 55-year-old Yasumasa Akutagawa from Japan, that the story began to make some sense. Mr Akutagawa told police that he had been seeing K. Kannika for a number of years, and, although they lived in separate apartments, he would often call in to see her. On the night of the incident, he explained, he had decided to pay a surprise call on his “wife”. When he turned the key and opened the door to her room, however, he saw a Thai man, wearing no pants, sitting with her. Trouserless Suphon tried to push him out of the room and lock the door, but Mr Akutagawa, feeling his honor had been slighted, shoved him out of the way and barged into the room. His fury rising, he grabbed his Samurai sword – which he just happened to keep in the room – and began to chase the interloper around, slashing at him. Suphon, having the advantage of youth, was faster than his attacker and managed to get out of the room. The pair ran down the corridor with Mr Akutagawa, brandishing his sword, in hot pursuit. When they reached the end of the corridor, Suphon saw that he had reached a dead end. Faced with the choice of a 12-story drop or an enraged Japanese man wielding a Samurai sword, he decided he would rather brave the drop. He went out of the window and tried to climb to safety, but instead slipped and fell to his death, Mr Akutagawa reported. “I can confirm that he fell all by himself. I did not push him at all,” Mr Akutagawa assured the police. The drama was not over for the night however. A little later another woman arrived at the scene. When she saw the body she broke down in tears and began to point at K. Kannika, shouting that K. Kannika was responsible for Suphon’s death. The woman, Pathumthep Hongsuwan, 25, explained that she had lived with Suphon for around a year and that Suphon had just got a new job driving tourists around. A month earlier she had gone to visit her family in Nong Khai for a couple of weeks and when she got back she discovered that Suphon had become entangled with another woman. Pathumthep said she gave Suphon an ultimatum: he must choose between her and Kannika. Suphon chose to stick with Pathumthep but said that he had to go and clear things up with Kannika. It was this “meeting to clear things up” that had led to his trouserless downfall. At the time of going to press, police were still in the process of interviewing witnesses and had not charged anyone over the incident.
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