Northeast Thailand: Mentally ill man’s attacks leave villagers in fear

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

A young man suffering from mental illness has left a community in Nong Khai living in fear with his erratic and violent behaviour, after attacking several individuals.

A local woman, 37 year old Jirawan Srinok, who was among the people attacked by the mentally ill man, recounted the harrowing event that occurred when she took her mother to the local market a few days ago. While Jirawan parked her motorcycle by the roadside, she was suddenly struck from behind, causing her to fall against her vehicle. She heard people nearby warning about a madman in the area.

The attacker, identified as Anan, attempted to hit her again but was driven away by the shouts of nearby residents. Jirawan reported the incident to the village head, who regretfully informed her that there was little that could be done against someone deemed mentally unstable.

Anan, a known figure in the community, has been suffering from mental health issues for over a decade. His mother, 50 year old Maliwan, revealed that Anan’s condition stemmed from his long-term substance abuse, which began when he was in primary school.

Despite several attempts to get him treated at various facilities, including those in Khon Kaen, Nong Khai, Loei, and Nonthaburi, the family’s lack of financial resources has made it difficult to provide the consistent care he needs. Each treatment session costs around 600 baht per day, a sum that is unaffordable for Anan’s family.

Jirawan expressed relief that her injuries were not severe enough to require hospitalisation but voiced her fears for her safety and the safety of others in the community. She urged local authorities and relevant organisations to intervene and help Anan receive the necessary treatment, as his violent tendencies pose a serious threat.

“If I were to die, who would take care of my children and parents?”

Jirawan added that the village head had advised residents to avoid confrontation and run away if they encountered Anan, underscoring the urgent need for a more permanent solution.

Drunken antics

When approached by Veerapol Raksamoe, an admin of the Ban Dung Update page, Anan admitted to the attacks, attributing his actions to a state of inebriation. Anan was found wandering naked near his home, holding a book to cover himself. He confessed that he felt overwhelmed and resorted to alcohol to cope, losing control of his actions as a result. He also revealed that his behaviour worsens when his mother is around, as he feels suffocated and turns to drinking.

“I don’t want to apologise because I didn’t mean to harm anyone.”

Anan acknowledged his need for help with his substance addiction, which includes various drugs like glue, methamphetamine, and cigarettes.

Maliwan, Anan’s mother, shared her distress over the situation. She has three sons, one of whom has already passed away. Anan, the eldest, has struggled with mental health issues since he was 13 years old, reported KhaoSod.

Despite her best efforts to seek treatment for him, the financial burden has been too great. Maliwan pleaded for government assistance to help her son get the necessary care and hopefully, lead a normal life one day.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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