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Thai man commits suicide due to mass govt corruption

Photo via MGR Online อีสานบ้านเฮา

A young engineer tormented by government corruption committed suicide in the Isaan province of Nong Bua Lamphu.

The 27 year old man, who worked as an engineer for a local government office in Nong Bua Lamphu left a suicide note saying that he could not take any more corruption in the organization.

The body of the engineer, Phanumate Wasasoha, was found inside a pickup on Maliwan Road in Udon Thani on Saturday, November 26. A charcoal stove was found inside the vehicle and it is understood he died from inhaling the stove’s odourless, poisonous fumes. No wounds were found on his body and there were no traces of a fight or struggle.

Phanumate’s mother informed the media that her son sent her a letter that included an apology and a ring that she bought him as a gift. She tried to contact him but there was no reply. Police eventually tracked his phone to the pickup.

Phanumate’s suicide note was revealed on social media. In the note, he apologised to his mother and family about his decision to end it all.

He also alleged in the note that mass corruption, in the Na Klang Sub-district Administration Organisation (SAO) in Nong Bua Lamphu, made him kill himself.

The three-page suicide letter revealed the working process at the Na Klang SAO. He said most of the authorities and construction companies took advantage of the construction projects in the sub-district. He tried to change the culture of corruption in the industry but wasn’t successful.

Phanumate decided to resign on December 1 but had to finish three to four more projects before leaving. In the end, he said finishing those projects would make him complicit in the ongoing widescale corruption and he could not stand it anymore.

The story went viral on Thai social media making many netizens question the construction projects Phanumate mentioned.

Many netizens believe Phanumate’s statement because the quality of the roads and government projects has become a hot topic on social media for years.

The Director of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), Pairat Panjawong, revealed he investigated the corruption Phanumate alleges.

Pairat reported to Channel 7 that the road construction in Soi Phet Suwan in Na Klang district was one of the projects Phanumate was in charge of.

Pairat acknowledged Phanimate’s claims, saying they were reasonable. The quality of the construction work was low and did not meet the specifications. Pairat discovered the concerns Phanumate lodged with the construction company and his recommendations to reconstruct various parts of the road.

Pairat promised the residents that PACC would investigate the whole project to find out whether there was corruption or not. Pairat added it is possible that Phanumate might have been pressured by someone to approve the construction projects, which forced him to commit suicide.

Thairath reported that 22% of the officials in the local government office witnessed corruption in their organisations. Thailand has about 7,000 to 8,000 local government organizations, 180,000 people are government officials, and each organisation gets a budget of 789 million baht per year.

The central investigation unit can’t take care of all the small organisations and that has left a gap for someone to corrupt and take advantage of the construction process.

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.

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.