Murder is a cheaper (100,000-300,000 baht) way than vote-buying (5-10 million baht) to win elections, nowadays.
This incident raises one big question about public opinion and elections: Once people realize the only remaining candidate is guilty of murder, why would people still vote for him?
The funeral of the murdered politician, pictured in the photo above.
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Crimes: Killing cheaper than vote buying: Police say politics is again becoming lethal by Wassayos Ngamkham
Vicious attacks on two local politicians in Prachin Buri and Nonthaburi on the same day last week, leaving one dead, heralds violence in the coming election as political rivals eliminate opponents in a desperate bid to win office, police said.
Family members of Bang Bua Thong municipality mayor Kowit Charoennontasit hold a press conference during his funeral to announce they have offered a reward of one million baht to anybody who gives police clues that lead to the capture of the gunman and the hirer involved in the mayor’s murder on March 2.
Both victims - one was severely injured and the other killed - were known to have been on their political opponents' hit lists.
Police said they believed the attacks were politically motivated, although they have not completely ruled out business conflicts.
Since the government announced its plan to call an election in the first half of this year, reports about attempts on the lives of members of tambon administration organisations and local municipalities have increased, police said.
The March 2 attacks on Anon Jaroensuk in Prachin Buri and on Kowit Charoennontasit in Nonthaburi have fortified police belief that election-related violence had already begun.
Mr Anon is head of Ta Tum tambon administration and secretary of Social Action Party MP for Prachin Buri Chayut Pummakanjana. He was seriously hurt when a bomb planted in a car in which he was a passenger went off in front of a school in Si Maha Phot district.
Kowit was Bang Bua Thong municipality mayor. He was shot and killed in front of his house in Bang Bua Thong district at 9pm.
Chatchai Rianmek, deputy chief of the centre of investigation under the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said killing politicians during the lead-up to an election was a common tactic to eliminate opponents.
"It's an inexpensive investment," Pol Col Chatchai said. "Gunmen are usually hired at between 100,000 and 300,000 baht, depending on how difficult the job is, while vote buying requires at least 5-10 million baht."
investment - taking your money and putting it into projects to make a profit or earn interest (buying stock shares, bonds, real estate)
He said money played a major part in the assassination of local politicians.
Pol Col Chatchai said state budgets granted to certain local administrative bodies tempted "businessmen" to enter politics and they chose the cheap assassination option to secure power which they later abuse.
Violent crimes grow out of economic reasons, he said.
Police are also to be blamed because of their ineffective crackdown on the crimes.
He said police recognise the cause of the violence. Stricter measures to curb crimes against local politicians were underway since March 7.
Deputy national police chief Panupong Singhara na Ayudhya ordered officers to update the list of gunmen countrywide. He also ordered police to update information about firearms possessed by suspected gunmen, canvassers and politicians.
Police should also make use of their knowledge of conflicts among political rivals to prevent violence, Pol Col Prayon Lasuea, chief of centre of investigation under Provincial Police Region3 said.
However, police measures against the politically-related crimes should not be carried out only during the period leading to an election, said Kamronwit Thoopkrajang, deputy chief of Provincial Police Region1.
"We will miss the point if we think so," he said.
It is the duty of police to gather information about crimes and their development all the time.
In the area under his supervision, he ordered officers to compile information of people likely to be in conflict with one another as well as records of election results, especially in areas of close competition.
The information will be analysed to find ways to prevent the crimes, Pol Maj Gen Kamronwit said.
Contact Crime Track: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Source: Bangkok Post, Crimes: Killing cheaper than vote buying, Police say politics is again becoming lethal, 14/03/2011, Wassayos Ngamkham, link)
election - the process of choosing a person or a group of person for a position, especially by voting elect (v) electoral (adj) synonym: the polls การเลือกตั้ง
funeral - a ceremony that takes place after someone dies, usually including a religious ceremony งานศพ ในที่นี้หมายถึง งารพระราชพิธีพระราชทานเพลิงพระศพ
hitman - hired killer, a professional killer who uses a gun, a gunman (See Wikipedia) มือปืน
public opinion - the popular view, a belief or sentiment shared by most people; the voice of the people ความเห็นส่วนใหญ่ของประชาชน
realize - come to understand that something is true
candidate - one of the people competing in an election for a political position in government (mayor, MP, etc)
vicious - 1. violent, 2. aggressive and dangerous, 3. vicious, brutal, cruel, savage, 4. full of hatred and anger ใจหิน, ใจมาร
lethal - very dangerous and able to kill you เป็นอันตรายถึงชีวิต
local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
heralds - to be a sign that something important is starting to happen ส่งสัญญาณ
violence - physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people ความรุนแรง
rivals - opponents; people you are fighting or competing against คู่อริ, คู่แข่ง
eliminate - to get rid of completely กำจัดหรือขจัดให้หมดไป
desperate - in great need, willing to try anything to get out of a bad situation, very worried or confused because you do not know how to deal with an unpleasant or dangerous situation อย่างสิ้นหวัง อย่างหมดหวัง
bid - an attempt to do something ความพยายาม
municipality - a town, city or district with its own local government เทศบาล
press - newspapers and magazines, and those parts of television and radio which broadcast news, or reporters and photographers who work for them สื่อมวลชน
press conference - a presentation of information to a group of reporter with time for questions afterwards, news conference (See Wikipedia)
mayor - the chief, head, leader of a town
reward - money that someone receives for finding and returning something or for helping the police รางวัล
clues - an object or fact that someone discovers that helps them solve a crime or mystery ร่องรอย
capture - to take someone as a prisoner จับกุม
gunman - a professional killer who uses a gun, a hitman (See Wikipedia)
hirer - the person who hires the guman to kill someone
murder - the crime of intentionally killing a person ฆาตกรรม
opponent - rival, the person you are competing against in business or in politics คู่แข่งขัน, ฝ่ายตรงข้าม, คู่ต่อสู้
hit list - a list of people to be murdered
victims - people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc.
motivated - done for a particular reason มีแรงจูงใจ ถูกโน้มน้าวใจ
politically motivated - done for political reasons, done to win elections
rule out - does not consider as a possible cause
have not completely ruled out - still considering as a possible cause (but very unlikely)
conflicts - angry disagreements between people or groups ความขัดแย้ง
administration - one government that a country has for a period of time
deputy - the person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation รอง, ตัวแทน,ผู้รักษาการแทน
metropolitan - connected with a large and important city
the lead-up to - the period of time before an election
investigation - the process of trying to find out all the details or facts about something การสอบสวน, การตรวจสอบหาข้อเท็จจริง
common - 1. often used, often see people using, 2. shared, used by many people
tactic - a particular method or plan for achieving something, a planned way of doing something ยุทธวิธี
eliminate - get rid of, stop existence of, kill
eliminate opponents - kill opponents, kill competitors, kill rivals
assassination - murder of important public figures in politics or business การลอบสังหาร, การลอบสังหารผู้มีชื่อเสียง
state - government รัฐ
budgets - the amounts of money given to different departments or sections of an organization each year, to pay normal costs of operation and special projects
granted - officially gave ให ้ (เงินกู้)
local administrative bodies - local government (at the level of town or district)
tempt - cause a person to want something or do something
option - a choice; something that you can choose in a particular situation ทางเลือก
secure - to get or achieve something ได้รับ, ทำให้ได้ผล
power - the ability to control people, things and events อำนาจ, อิทธิพล
abuse - to use or treat someone or something wrongly or badly, especially in a way that is to your own advantage ใช้ในทางที่ผิด
blame - to hold someone responsible for some bad event that happened, reprove, reproach, rebuke, condemn, censure ตำหนิติเตียน, ติเตียน, ตำหนิ, ว่ากล่าวตักเตือน, ยกโทษขึ้นพูด
ineffective - does not work well, does not produce intended results
crackdown - strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity การปราบปรามขั้นเด็ดขาด, การใช้กำลังเข้าปราบปรามของเจ้าหน้าที่
recognise - to know, to know what something is จำได้ รู้จัก
measures - actions done to solve a problem มาตราการ
curb - stop or reduce ลดหรือยุติ
underway - happening now กำลังเกิดขึ้น
national - a citizen of a particular country ประชาชน
officers - high ranking managers in a company (Photo on right of one of the first computers, the gigantic
update - add the most recent information
firearms - guns
canvassers - people hired by politicians to get votes for them
suspected - people believe that they might have done something wrong, but not yet proven เป็นที่สงสัย
rival - same as "opponent" คู่แข่งขัน, ฝ่ายตรงข้าม, คู่ต่อสู้
duty - something that you have to do because it is part of your job, or something that you feel is the right thing to do หน้าที่, ความรับผิดชอบ
development - the gradual growth and formation of something
supervision - the process of making sure that something is being done properly การควบคุมดูแล การตรวจตรา
compile - to collect information from different places and arrange it in a book, report or list รวบรวม
conflict - angry disagreement between people or groups ความขัดแย้ง
records - pieces of information describing something written down or stored on a computer บันทึุก
results - what is produced in the end by an activity or task
election results - who won the elections
close competition - situation when either person could win, not clear yet who is going to win
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