Thai man set on fire by cousin in drug-related dispute

Photo via Chaing Mai News

A Thai man suffered serious injuries after his cousin intentionally set him on fire at his home in the northern province of Chaing Rai at night on May 28. The perpetrator’s girlfriend revealed that the violent act was motivated by a drug-related dispute.

The incident took place in a residential area belonging to the Akha ethnic community, situated in the Mae Yao district of Chiang Rai province.

As news of the incident reached the authorities, officers from Mae Yao Police Station swiftly responded to the distressing scene. They arrived to find the 28 year old victim, Somchok, writhing in agony from extensive burns that covered his entire body.

Providing an account of the events leading up to the incident, Somchok’s 30 year old brother-in-law, Arzhe, shared details with the media. Arzhe explained that he, along with his wife and their four year old daughter, were sleeping in the corridor of the house, while Somchok and his wife were resting in the bedroom. The tranquillity of the night was abruptly shattered by piercing screams, accompanied by the sight of flames engulfing the bedroom.

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Arzhe recounted that the perpetrator responsible for this heinous act was none other than Somchok’s 28 year old cousin, Arha. Amidst the ensuing chaos, Arha managed to flee the scene, leaving everyone bewildered and unaware of the motive behind the attack.

The truth behind the motive was later disclosed by Arha’s girlfriend, Supawadee, during an interview with Chiang Mai News. She revealed that Somchok had become entangled with a drug smuggling syndicate. Somchok had approached Arha recently, seeking permission to use his bank account for a monetary transfer.

According to Supawadee, Somchok informed Arha that a sum of money would be transferred into the account, and all Arha had to do was withdraw it and hand it over to him. Succumbing to the request, Arha and Supawadee withdrew 3,000 baht from the account and handed it over to Somchok. However, their actions had unintended consequences.

Shortly after the transfer, Arha found himself facing police summons in connection with the drug-related allegations. The summons followed the arrest of one of Somchok’s associates, a drug dealer who had transferred the money into Arha’s bank account. Despite Arha’s attempts to prove his innocence, the authorities suspected his involvement in the illicit drug trade.

Supawadee claimed that the police, in an attempt to secure Arha’s freedom, demanded a payment of 30,000 baht from them. Seeking a resolution, they turned to Somchok for help in finding the money. However, Somchok ignored their pleas and even threatened to harm Arha and his family if they persisted in bothering him.

Frustrated and desperate to find a solution, Arha decided to visit Somchok’s residence on that fateful day, seeking his assistance once more. Tragically, their encounter only exacerbated their disagreements, ultimately triggering Arha’s outburst of anger and leading to the violent act that ensued.

Recent updates from Chiang Mai News reveal that Somchok suffered burns covering over 80% of his body. He was swiftly admitted to Chiang Rai Prachanukror Hospital, where he is currently undergoing critical surgery and extensive wound-cleaning procedures.

As the investigation progresses, the police are gathering evidence, preparing to issue an arrest warrant against Arha.

Crime NewsThailand News

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

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