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The iceman cometh

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The iceman cometh | Thaiger

NAKHON PATHOM: One of the primary targets in the Government’s war on drugs are dealers of ya bah (methamphetamine), one form of which is the highly addictive recrystalised form, known as “ice”. But if the tale told by a man in Nakorn Pathom’s Muang District is to be believed, dealers in ice made from water are now being targeted by unknown hitmen, too – perhaps indicating that the War on Drugs has taken an unexpected turn for the worse. On March 31, 25-year-old Samran Singthong of tambon Thanong was going about his daily work routine, delivering ice in his saleng (a three-wheel pig transporter, a motorcycle with a crude sidecar). At 10:30 am he made a delivery to 99 Hotel in tambon Charrok (Editor’s note: Hotels with names like 69, 89,and 99 are invariably “short time” hotels). After making the delivery, he stopped off at the nearby home of his elder brother. As he was getting back onto his conveyance, two men dressed in black, wearing gloves and helmets, pulled up about five meters away on an unlicensed red Honda Wave motorcycle. From there, the man riding pillion fired two rounds at K. Samran’s chest before speeding off. When police arrived, they found a hole in K. Samran’s clothing and a bruise on his skin, but no penetrating wound. A crowd of excited villagers had gathered around the man. “I felt pain on my chest and vomited blood after the criminals escaped,” the human target told the officers “I thought I had already died and was witnessing my actions from the spirit world. But when I checked myself there was no bullet in my chest, just this bruise and a hole in my shirt,” he told the police. “I believe I was saved by the magical properties of the ko amulet that always hangs from a chain around my neck. I wear it to protect myself from harm,” he added proudly. But one officer found more holes in K. Samran’s story than he did in the man’s shirt. A thorough search of the scene failed to turn up any bullet casings and nobody in the area heard gunshots. The only evidence found to corroborate his story was a spread of bloody vomit. Chief Investigator Pol Capt Chayut Phiphattaweekul, of Nakhon Pathom Police Station, said he was not convinced that K. Samran had been shot – and if he had, it must have been by an airgun. Bullets, after all, aren’t generally known to bounce off human flesh. Buddha amulet expert Yutthachai Phathomwatthanasiri said the Luang Por Ngurn amulets were issued in 1963. They have become popular among hoodlums, thugs and goons who think they have the power to stop bullets. They are commonly referred to as liang go (gangster coins). Although the Buddha tried to enlighten his followers and free them from the suffering and ignorance, the sale in these trinkets is a multi-billion baht business in Thailand. The monks who issue them are the greatest beneficiaries.

 

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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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