Teenage tennis prodigy who killed biker in BMW quits national team

A teenage tennis prodigy, who was involved in a fatal car accident at the age of 16, has resigned from the national team following a backlash from the public over his promotion to the Lawn Tennis Association of Thailand (LTAT) squad.

The unnamed 16 year old boy crashed his BMW car into a red motorcycle at the intersection near Suranaree University of Technology in the Isaan province of Nakhon Ratchasima in October last year.

The teenage tennis starlet killed 24-year-old Thanaphon “Tae” Kaewmoon in the crash. Tae had recently graduated with first-class honours in telecommunication from university.

The driver was charged with reckless driving resulting in death, running a red light and driving without a valid license. The incident drew significant attention and criticism from the Thai public, as the accused was allowed to continue leading a normal life and pursuing his tennis career, while the victim’s family struggled with their loss.

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The issue was reignited on Friday, January 27, when the young tennis player announced on his Instagram account that he had been promoted to the national tennis team. This sparked renewed outrage on Thai social media, raising questions about why the LTAT would support someone who had caused the death of another person.

Famous Thai actor and news reporter, Kanchai Kammerdploy, slammed the announcement on Facebook. He said…

“How are you going to be a sportsman? You don’t even have humanity! I heard that you did not greet or look at the victim’s parents when you joined the court.”

People continued to condemn the boy and the LTAT, propelling the hashtag #16yearoldboyrunsredlightandkill (#เด็ก16ฝ่าไฟแดงชนคนตาย) to the top of Thai Twitter.

The teenager and LTAT were unable to handle the backlash from online users and subsequently released a statement announcing that the boy had withdrawn from the national team.

Thairath visited the victim’s home in Nakhon Sawan to interview the dead boy’s mother, Boonlue. Boonlue revealed that the boy’s family was ordered by the court to pay a compensation of 860,000 baht to the victim’s family, of which 660,000 baht has already been paid, with the remainder to be paid soon.

Boonlue expressed her hope for a fair resolution to the case. The boy’s official punishment has yet to be announced by the court.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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