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Sunday 8 January 2023

Revolver riddle, random temple attack, genital savagery

Mystery in abandoned house

Wongsatorn ‘Bee’ Tumgen

A Bangkok mother says her 16-year-old son may have been murdered rather than falling victim to a game of Russian roulette as his teen mates claim.

Waraporn Tumgen has cast doubt on police testimony given by six teens who witnessed his death. “Our family would like the police to consider all options, and not rule anything out,” she said.

Her son, Wongsatorn “Bee” Tumgen, died from a single shot to the right side of his neck at an abandoned house in Nong Chok district on Jan 2. His friends, who had been hanging about the house all day, smoking cannabis and playing music, say Bee turned up about 11pm to show off a revolver he had bought.

One account said he spun the empty chamber and fired it at a friend. Then he inserted a single bullet and fired it at another. Fortunately, luck was on his side and it did not go off. Finally, they say, Bee turned the gun on himself. He spun the chamber and the gun fired, killing him.

A neighbour said the boys at the house ran out calling on him for help. “Blood!” they yelled. Police sent Bee’s body for an autopsy and gun residue tests which will be critical as to what charges, if any, officers lay in the days ahead.

Wongsatorn’s revolver
The teens gave evidence as one to police that Bee shot himself in a prank gone wrong. However, Ms Waraporn says when the boys came to see her, their story changed. They told her Bee had meant to take his own life.

Ms Waraporn says she has evidence which casts doubt on their testimony. Her son was left-handed, and a video clip found in his phone in which he tries out the gun shows him firing it with his left hand. 

If that was the case, she asked how he could have shot himself on the right side of his neck, and why he didn’t hold the gun to his forehead as he would conventionally if he was really playing Russian roulette.

Likewise, the gun was found on the right side of his body, when it should have fallen to his left if he had really fired the weapon.

Bee, she said, was a happy teen looking forward to starting a new job. Bee, raised a Muslim, had also vowed to pursue religious studies more rigorously.

Further muddying matters, she had obtained a clip of her son contacting an older friend in the hours before the shooting saying someone had tried to wrest the gun from him, and asking for his help to clear the matter.

In another twist, one boy with whom Bee had supposedly had problems in the past went home for a shower before presenting himself to police for questioning. Ms Waraporn asks if he was trying to destroy evidence of his complicity in a crime.

Ms Waraporn said she had never seen her son with a weapon before and knew few of his friends.

One of Bee’s mates, Tong (assumed name), who lives nearby and has known Bee for five years, said Bee had bought and sold a few firearms to raise money for his tuition fees. Tong was not present at the abandoned house, a local teen hang-out, on the night of the shooting, though he saw Bee the day before, when he was full of life.

The teens who witnessed the shooting say Bee turned up riding pillion on a friend’s bike. He entered and said barely a word before pulling out the gun to show off to his mates. When the gun went off the kids ran out in shock, he said.

Police say the weight of evidence leans towards the boys’ testimony that Bee fell victim to carelessness and the over-excitement of youth. Police have tested those present for gunpowder residue, and results would be known this week.

Pique leads to stabbing
Jirayu ‘Dong’ Tidtaram
A bunch of youngsters in Buri Ram attacked a man as he was leaving a temple fair out of anger from having been barred from the event.

Khu Muang and Region 3 police nabbed Jirayu “Dong” Tidtaram, 24, who admitted stabbing Kitiphong “Sor” Ternprai, 32 outside the temple on Dec 29, leaving him fighting for his life.

Dong was earlier barred from the temple fair for fear he would meet other youngsters there and set off a fight.

Angry at having been tossed out of the event, he called five young friends and they lay in wait outside the temple for the first reveller to emerge. That person was the victim.

Kitiphong ‘Sor’ Ternprai
Banlu Kamud, 49, assistant to a village head in Ban Nong Nang Dam of Ban Pae district, said youngsters from his village and another one about 2km away have a history of fighting. Village elders had banned youngsters from those villages from attending each other’s events.

On the night of the stabbing a local temple had put on a function, and Dong had snuck in despite the ban. When officials saw him they asked him to leave, which he did, heading off on his bike.

“After the function ended I was outside the temple marshalling traffic. No locals had yet walked out and I saw just a couple of motorcycles leave,” Mr Banlu said.

“Shortly after, Sor left the temple, the first to head out on foot. He gave me a wai. He had walked about 50m when teens on three motorcycles started attacking him. They stabbed him repeatedly until he was lying still. The attackers discarded the knife and took off,” he added.

Anucha, Sor’s foster father, said he had looked after the young man for 16 years. The pair had travelled to Chumphon for work and did not get back home much. But this year he and Sor returned to Khu Muang for the first time in five years. His son intended to attend a countdown event on Dec 31 and travelled to Buri Ram on Dec 25.

“Sor asked me for 100 baht and said he was going to the temple fair. Doctors say he is unlikely to survive the attack as they stabbed him all over his body,” he said.

Prime suspect Jirayu admitted instigating the attack. He and his mates attacked Sor because he was the first to emerge, he told police.

“We were also drunk and didn’t think about what we were doing. All we can do now is apologise,” he said.

Police charged him with assault and carrying a weapon without permission. His friends also face charges, which could be stepped up if the victim dies.

Smile while you slice them off
The monk who tried to cut off his genitals
A monk who tried cutting off his own genitals was smiling as he did it and claimed he felt no pain, a witness said.

Phra Oat, 27, used a kitchen knife and scissors to attack himself at a temple in Tha Maka district, Kanchanaburi, on Jan 1. A monk who witnessed the attack called rescue workers, who sent him to hospital where he was treated and discharged.

The Kan-chanaburi Provincial Office of Buddhism, which investigated, said Phra Oat, ordained at a temple in Si Sa Ket, contacted a monk in Kanchanaburi some weeks ago and said he would like to travel to the area.

He had been a visitor at the Tha Maka district temple where the incident occurred for just 10 days. For the three days before, Phra Oat seemed depressed, observers said. He would not leave his quarters to join other monks in temple activities, the office said.

Speaking later following his discharge from hospital, Phra Oat said he did not feel anything as he savaged his own genitals.

However, his injuries were now giving him some pain. As he answered, he was drifting off with his sentences and not making much sense.

Reporters who visited the temple said they didn’t spot any meds for a psychiatric condition, and when they asked the monk if he was upset about anything, he would not say.

“Reporters asked if he wanted a wife, he said he did. The hospital gave him meds for pain, infection, and a muscle relaxant,” one news report said. Another was more explicit, saying doctors were able to sew his severed member back on again.

A well-known monk in Nonthaburi, Phra Ratchdhamanithet, said if Phra Oat was trying to get rid of his sexual desire for the sake of being a better monk, chopping off his genitals was the wrong way to do it.

There was nothing in the religious writings which called for such an extreme step. “Even if he was mentally ill at the time, it’s also wrong,” he said.

The temple sent him back to Wat Ban Bon Yai in Si Sa Ket’s Uthumphon Phisai district where Phra Oat was ordained in October 2020.

The abbot had him leave the monkhood to seek hospital treatment but Phra Oat initially refused. The abbot had to get relatives to coax him into it before he would relent.

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