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Drinking session takes tragic turn

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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SUKHOTHAI: The more dipsomaniacal among us will most likely have had the unsettling experience of coming round, after a heavy session, not quite sure where we are or how we got there.

Usually, this can be rectified by stumbling out, flagging down a taxi and demanding to be taken home, hopefully before the full force of the hangover sets in.

One unlucky drinker in the early hours of September 5 had a rather more tragic experience.

Regaining consciousness in the back seat of his own moving car after a night on the town, he mistook his friend, who was driving him home, for a robber stealing his vehicle – and emptied all six shots of his revolver into him, killing him at the wheel.

The sorry tale started on the afternoon of September 4, when 54-year-old Surakiat Kaewphet, the chauffeur of the director of Sri Samrong Hospital, drove into Sukhothai town to meet some of his friends in the local law enforcement community.

One drink led to another, and the group soon found themselves having a grand time in the Tor Phu Tao restaurant.

When it was finally time to go home, Surakiat’s friend Sub Lt Songsak Jaidee offered to drive his pal, who was so intoxicated he could barely walk, back to his home in Sri Samrong District.

Lt Songsak laid Surakiat down in the back seat of the chauffeur’s Honda City and asked one of his underlings, Sgt Maj Songsak Yahjai, to follow in his car so he could take Lt Songsak home when Surakiat was safely tucked in bed.

Halfway home, however, Surakiat woke from his inebriated slumber. Realizing that someone else was driving his Honda, he jumped to the conclusion that the driver must be stealing the car.

Driven perhaps by instinct as much as alcohol, he pulled out his .38 revolver and emptied it into the “thief”.

After the car came to a halt in the middle of the road, Sgt Maj Songsak, who had been following behind, pulled up alongside to see what was wrong.

On seeing the body of his boss, he shouted at Surakiat, demanding to know why he had shot Lt Songsak.

Realizing his mistake, he joined Sgt Maj Songsak in a desperate bid to resuscitate the lieutenant, but to no avail.

All who knew the tragic pair said that Surakiat and Lt Songsak were good friends and regular drinking partners. Surakiat used to say that he loved Lt Songsak like a younger brother.

Surakiat, a big fan of the police in general, was friends with all the officers in his local station and would often treat them to meals and drinks.

Whenever any policeman was ill, he would use his connections at the hospital to make sure the law enforcement officer got the best rooms.

These strong bonds with the boys in brown, however, were apparently not strong enough to get him out of trouble for his mistake, as he has been charged with murder and carrying a firearm in a public place without permission.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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