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Bangkok Post

Druggie loses son, hero heads off attack, rock fishing

The way some folks live

A Surat Thani drug addict went berserk after losing a dearly loved infant son in what authorities suspect was a high-speed road accident.

Khiri Rat Nikhom police say that a man wielding a large knife climbed onto a relative's roof in Tha Khanon sub-district on May 1. They spent hours negotiating with Thanarat "Keow" Sombun, 41, who was under the influence of drugs.

Thanarat 'Keow' Sombun

Police were told that Mr Keow had been in a suspected road accident shortly before which left his infant son with critical injuries.

The day before, Mr Keow called his wife and mother to a nearby temple after spending two days away taking drugs.

When the four returned home on his motorcycle at 11pm, he chased away the womenfolk and took off with his son at high speed.

An hour or so later, having apparently hit a power pole and plunged into a roadside ditch, he returned home with his injured son hung over his shoulder. The boy had head wounds and was bleeding from both ears.

When his family saw the injured boy, they tried to persuade Mr Keow to take the child to hospital.

Mr Keow refused and a tussle over the boy followed, in which Mr Keow took wild swings at his family with a large knife. He injured the couple's 15-year-old son when he came to the aid of his mother.

Relatives were finally able to wrest the infant's body away from his father and sent the child to Khiri Rat Nikhom hospital. He died later from his injuries.

Mr Keow was in such a frenzied state, however, that his scared wife, Phawinee Sombun, 38, fled to a nearby uncle's house. Mr Keow followed her there and climbed onto the roof as he tried to get access to his wife.

She called the police, who were able to talk him down and corner him in a nearby shop. Clips released to the media show police chasing him across a field with a long hook-like implement.

Ms Phawinee said her husband had been on drug benders before and could turn violent. Whenever he returned she would shut the door to stop him getting inside and harming the family.

When he took off with their son, aged one year and 11 months, on the motorcycle she was not worried as he loved the boy dearly.

However, when he returned claiming he had been in an accident, the family were suspicious, as they feared that in his drug-addled state he may have abused the child.

The boy's autopsy, however, suggested the boy's injuries were indeed consistent with a road accident. The bike was damaged on its right side, and the pole showed signs of impact. Police also found a trail of blood leading from the scene back to Mr Keow's house.

Station head Pol Col Kriangkrai Kehtkaew said Mr Keow told police he had taken two speed pills. He denied harming the child, insisting it was an accident. Mr Keow was charged with careless driving causing death, and driving under the influence of drugs.

Roadside saviour

Locals intervened to stop a Prachin Buri man raping a woman after he knocked the victim from her bike.

Weerapan Srichan admits the attack.

Muang police on May 2 nabbed Weerapan Srichan, 37, after locals passing by the scene pounced on the attacker, tied him up and waited for the law to arrive.

Mr Weerapan admitted beating his victim on a lonely road surrounded by palm trees in Ban Phra sub-district. He hit her with a beer botttle and was trying to rape her when a passer-by intervened.

The good samaritan called on other motorists for help and together they subdued Mr Weerapan with a few punches. Police sent his injured victim, identified as Nong Som in news reports, to hospital.

'Nong Som' nurses facial injuries.
'Nong Som' nurses facial injuries.

TV footage shows the suspect sitting up talking animatedly to a large crowd which assembled after police arrived. He said he attacked Nong Som as he felt sexually attracted to her, and his own wife was five months' pregnant.

"I admit all the charges, absolutely," he said, as if he was doing all of them a favour by confessing, though he also mentioned the large number of people present.

"That's only because you've been caught," one local responds laconically.

Mr Weerapan, who had been drinking, said he was heading home and noticed his victim on a motorcycle buying food by a roadside shop.

CCTV vision shows him stopping by the shop, and casting a backwards glance at Nong Som.

He heads back the way she came and does a quick U-turn on the road. In the next shot he speeds ahead of his victim on his motorcycle as she prepares to leave the shop, to waylay her on the road ahead.

CCTV vision from another point on the route shows his vehicle following her motorcycle, Nong Som having passed him on the road. Mr Weerapan, she said, drew alongside her bike and kicked her in the stomach.

The attacker then doubled back and asked his victim where she was headed. "I am going home to my boyfriend, and live close by," she said, as she struggled with her bike.

Undeterred, Mr Weerapan dragged her into the trees by the side of the road. She recalls little of the attack itself, but says she heard a passer-by intervene on her behalf.

Rattanachai Pawong, 28, said he was heading back from the district's annual fair. "My partner was with me and saw the shadow of someone by the side of the road so I stopped.

"I heard a woman crying out for help. A guy emerged and said, 'Don't interfere, it's a matter between husband and wife,' but the woman insisted he was trying to rape her.

"I decided it was unlikely to be domestic as the guy was naked below the waist. So I called on other motorists for help and together we grabbed him," he told reporters.

Nong Som said she managed to flee as the exchange between her attacker and Mr Rattanachai was taking place.

Police found signs of struggle in the bushes, the empty bottle with which Mr Weerapan hit Nong Som, a pair of her shoes, and a pair of his jeans. His victim had a head injury, bruising to one eye, and a deep cut to her lip.

The victim's boyfriend said Nong Som works nearby and stops regularly to buy food before heading home.

"She takes that route every time and we didn't think anything bad would happen," he said.

A crew from Amarin TV spoke to Mr Weerapan's wife, who confirmed she was pregnant but could not say if she would stay with her husband after hearing he had attacked another woman.

Police are waiting for the result of the victim's medical examination before laying charges.

Eccentric fisherman cops it

Rayong police were startled to find the body of a man weighed down by a large rock in a local canal.

Kriangkrai Lhamung

However, inquiries showed the man, Kriangkrai Lhamung, 27, was likely the victim of a drowning accident rather than foul play as he liked to go fishing using a large rock as an anchor. They also found a 2m rubber breathing tube attached to his body.

His wife, Suphaporn Lhamung, 36, said her husband was a keen fisherman who liked to search the canal bed for shellfish.

"He told me he was heading out on April 29 but I managed to dissuade him as it was raining heavily and I was worried for his safety," she said.

She suspects her husband left the next morning while she was still asleep. When she returned from work that night she could not find him. She went looking at his usual haunts, including his fishing ground, without success.

"I have warned him about fishing with the rock but he did not listen," she said.

Kriangkrai would weigh himself down with the rock while he groped about on the canal bed, she said.

Water in Wang Kayeng canal in Pluak Daeng district where he was found flows from a nearby weir. It is only 1-2m deep but on the day he disappeared the currents were strong.

Her husband was wearing goggles, and breathed through the rubber tube. The 2kg rock was attached to his waist with nylon rope.

Fishermen found his body face down in the water two days after he left home.

Police suspect he went into the canal to look for shellfish, but was caught in strong currents. He was unable to get to the surface because the rock was weighing him down.

TV crews spoke to local fishermen, who agreed it was a bizarre fishing method. Few had heard of it or tried it themselves.

Local fisherman Niwat Klomjai, 28, found the body in water by a bridge, but couldn't see the rope or the rock weighing him down.

"We look for carp, pla taphian, river prawns and shellfish, though usually we throw in a net and scoop them up," he said. "Some people go diving to hunt for shrimp and shellfish but it's not popular," he added.

He had tried diving himself but never seen anyone using Kriangkrai's methods. Police sent his body for an autopsy.