Paranoia in the lobby
BANGKOK: When police arrived at the Louis Tavern, in Bangkok’s Bang Khen district, on April 18, they found fellow officer Pol Cpl Sathit Prasanpangsri, 33, being held under house arrest by the hotel owner, Asuwin Inghakul, and a security guard. K. Asuwin, 58, said that Cpl Sathit was acting suspiciously. He was wearing a safari suit and carrying a top-of-the-range Icom IC-2G walkie-talkie while loitering in the hotel’s lobby. When K. Asuwin and the hotel security guard approached and asked Cpl Sathit to undergo a weapons search, he pushed away the hands of the security guard and identified himself as a police officer. K. Asuwin had been having a few problems in his personal life and, seeing Cpl Sathit strutting around the lobby, became fearful. He decided on a preemptive strike. With the help of his hotel guard, he took the officer into custody and stripped him of a 9 mm handgun and 12 rounds of ammunition found under his jacket. K. Asuwin told police that Cpl Sathit had had dinner in the hotel the previous night with five other men, and that he thought he had evil intentions. But Cpl Sathit explained that he had been hired as a personal bodyguard by Nada Wiyakan, a singer of some local repute – and the wife of K. Asuwin. K. Nada, he explained, needed his protection because she was being stalked by a gang of local thugs. Cpl Sathit had turned up for work bright and early that morning, as promised the night before, but was told by K. Nada to wait in the hotel lobby as she went out on some business. But before the singer returned, her new bodyguard had already been disarmed and taken into custody – by her husband. Although his arrest was apparently a result of paranoid misunderstanding, Cpl Sathit – who had borrowed the pistol from a fellow officer – was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and with carrying a concealed weapon.
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