57-year-old father used an illegal gas gun to fire two shots at his son in the early hours of Saturday morning after being ambushed by him as he launched another violent tirade demanding money for drugs. Son had returned home to Udon Thani from Bangkok in February after losing his job.
The tragedy and torment of Thailand’s ongoing drug addiction epidemic were brought home on Saturday when a 57-year-old man broke down and told police that he could not avoid shooting his 37-year-old son dead in the early hours of the morning as a homicide investigation got underway in the Kut Chap district of Udon Thani.
Police in Udon Thani, in northeastern Thailand, on Saturday charged a 57-year-old man with killing his son after an early morning incident in which the younger man attacked his father with a knife while demanding money for drugs.
Somphat Praipruek, the accused man, told investigating officers that the incident began after 4 am in the morning when he heard his son emerge from his home on the outskirts of Nong Mek village located in a rural area in the Kut Chap district to the west of the province.
Father was staying in a hut on the property to care for animals when, in the early hours, his son, with a knife, began another tirade demanding drug money
Mr Somphat was staying in a hut located in the garden on his property as he was caring for animals on his land while his 37-year-old son Praphan Praipruek was staying inside the house.
The son had a history of violence towards his parents following his return home from Bangkok in February after losing his job because of a chronic drug addiction problem.
He was a regular user of methamphetamines, marijuana and kratom.
The situation had led to tensions and seen him involved in increasingly violent clashes with his parents while demanding money to pay for his drug habit.
So much so that the young man’s mother, Mrs Sommai Praiprue, had left the home in recent times and relocated to another property owned by the family in Nong Mek village itself which is approximately 1 km away.
On Saturday morning, Mr Somphat awoke to hear his son emerge from the house in an angry and intimidating manner and knew that he was carrying a knife.
Took a gas gun he carried for defence and tried to evade his son by exiting the hut when he heard him
He told investigating police led by Deputy Chief Investigator of Kut Chap Police Station, Lieutenant Colonel Sathien Wonghajak, that he grabbed a long-barrelled gas gun which he kept for defence purposes.
He emerged from the hut in an attempt to avoid meeting his son as he knew from previous altercations with him that he was usually in a deranged state when he could not find the money for drugs and would almost certainly attack him inside the hut otherwise.
Waited to allow his son to cool off but alerted his daughter to call the village chief and the police
He told police that as he made his way from the hut, the 37-year-old man ambushed him causing him to discharge his gun two times.
He knew that he had hit his son when he let out a shriek but the younger man then ran away.
Mr Somphat decided he would let his son run off and did not pursue him thinking that it might afford him an opportunity of calming down.
However, he also knew that something serious had occurred so the father phoned his daughter who is working in Bangkok and asked her to contact the Headman of Nong Mek village, 52-year-old Mr Suphap Dana, to report what had happened to the police.
Police received a summons to respond to the incident at 5 am.
They later arrived at the property to find Mr Somphat standing by the body of his son, approximately 50 metres from where he had encountered his son outside his garden hut.
His son, Mr Praphan Praipruek, also known as Pui, was still clasping a knife which was approximately 1 foot long with a plastic taped handle in his hand. He was wearing jeans and a black T-shirt.
The body was lying face down on a gravel path.
Wounded twice with shots to the left shoulder
Police officers noted that he had been wounded twice with injuries on his left shoulder which had penetrated through to the left chest.
Police have launched a murder inquiry into the death and charged the father with the ‘intentional killing’ of his son and illegal possession of a firearm although Police Major General Phitsanu Unhaseree, the commander of Provincial Police in Udon Thani, told reporters on Saturday that they would later look at whether the father had acted in self-defence as part of their investigation.
In Thailand, gas guns as opposed to airsoft guns or BB guns are treated as being in the same category as firearms and must be licensed by authorities.
Police granted the father bail after charging him with intentional homicide as the investigation will now look into the matter of self-defence in this case
At the same time, the senior police officer pointed out that Mr Somphat had been released on his own bail to attend his son’s funeral.
He noted it was difficult to believe that any parent would wish to kill their child.
He said that the father had made no attempt to flee the scene of the suspected crime and had offered up the gun involved.
He had also cooperated fully when officers arrived on the scene including offering a full and tearful confession as to what had happened just an hour earlier.
It is understood that the accused man’s wife and mother of the victim, Mrs Sommai Praipruek and the village headman, Mr Suphap Dana, have also been interviewed and given statements to the police.
Mr Somphat told investigators on Saturday that his son had already attacked him twice over the last six months and, on two occasions, had his knife to his neck.
He said his child went on regular rampages with his knife when demanding money for drugs. He would threaten and intimidate while at the same time destroying property for effect.
Father told police family had returned to rural life in northeastern Thailand twenty years ago after working in the construction industry in Bangkok
Both of these incidents and the ongoing situation were reported to the headman of the village although the father did not choose to involve the police on those occasions.
He explained that the family had moved to Bangkok to work in the construction industry some 30 years previously when their children were young but had returned 20 years ago availing of community support programmes to resume their life as farmers.
Both their children, their son, 37-year-old Mr Praphan and a 34-year-old daughter had then returned to work in the capital.
An emotional Mr Somphat explained what happened to police on Saturday at the scene of the tragedy saying that he did wish to kill his son but the alternative, he was quite certain, was to have been killed himself.
‘Looking back, I didn’t want to kill my son at all,’ he said as he broke down in tears.