CHALONG: A South African man apparently took his own life on Wednesday, by putting a plastic bag over his head and breathing in LPG gas from a cooking fuel cylinder.
The deceased was listed in the Chalong Police daily log as Joeachem Hendrik Smit, 46. His passport, recovered at the scene, showed that he had last entered Thailand on September 15 on a one-month tourist visa.
According to the police log and witness accounts, Smit’s body was discovered in his rented room at about 1 pm. The address of the room was given as 107/39 Soi Boonlert, off Patak Rd, in Chalong Village 10.
The discovery was made by a friend of the deceased, Nathawan Phromsinlapaporn, who reported the death to Chalong Police.
Nanthawan, in her 30s, said she had gone to visit Smit. The police log recorded her as saying that when she arrived at his room, she smelled gas. Entering, she found Smit sitting motionless with his back against the bathroom door.
There was a plastic bag over his head and a hose from a nearby LPG cylinder running over his shoulder and under the bag. Thinking he was still alive, she removed the hose and bag and closed the cylinder valve. Then, realizing her friend was dead, she left the room, closed the door and notified police.
The Gazette spoke to Smit’s landlord, Junt Panyakeaw, who said that Smit had rented the room three months ago at a rate of 3,000 baht a month, after being taken there by two Thai friends.
“He didn’t have much money and said he only wanted to stay for a few months, so I didn’t ask to see any documents,” she said, adding that Smit always greeted her with a smile. However, they were unable to communicate further because Smit could not speak Thai.
On the morning of Smit’s death, Junt said she saw him go to the Roongnapa Minimart across the street, returning with some bottles of beer.
Junt said she also saw Nanthawan that morning, but did not speak to her. It was only after the police arrived that Junt became aware of Smit’s death, she said.
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