Murder and....lack of modern Siam?

Murder as a business strategy has existed for a long time in Thailand. No names this time, but fingers are all pointing towards one "influential figure."

Witnesses are hesitant to come forward and testify in a trial because they also may be murdered.

Even if the perpetrator of the murder is finally convicted, it may take decades (Read article). 

This time the family of a cabinet minister may be implicated in a murder over a land deal gone bad.

US political scientist Benedict Anderson wrote his famous article "Murder and progress in modern Siam" in 1990. The paper begins by mentioning the 1983 box-office hit Mue Puen [มือปืน, the gunman]. The hero of the film "officially supports himself by working as a barber; but we are soon shown that he is secretly a highly paid professional killer. His paymasters are wealthy businessmen—and so are his victims."

Almost 30 years later, it seems not much has changed.

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Police link murder to land deals

Sucha shooting victimThe father of a cabinet minister is believed to be a suspect in the killing of the wife of a Surat Thani prosecutor over a land purchase dispute.

Sucha Kleepbua, 46, wife of Thiti Khumrak, was shot dead on Tuesday by unidentified gunmen in camouflage outfits while travelling on a bus from Ratchaburi's Muang district to Suan Phung district

Police have not named any suspects as Sucha was involved in many land deals, but a Department of Special Investigation source said she had recently complained to the DSI about the minister's father, an influential figure in Ratchaburi.

Local police believe the murder was connected to one of her land deals.

Sucha had sought advice from the DSI over problems surrounding her purchase of 1,200 rai of land from the cabinet minister's father, the source said.

She told the DSI she had paid 10 million baht of a total 25 million baht. However, the minister's father could not provide her with all the land she was promised. He had instead offered to find her alternative plots in the mountains.

The woman was advised to check the status of the land thoroughly to avoid a legal backlash that could damage her prosecutor husband's career.

The source said the DSI had information that the land seller had obtained leases for thousands of rai of land in Suan Phung district, including large tracts belonging to the state and therefore leased illegally.

Sucha's family has asked to meet the DSI's Bureau of Special Crime director Piyawat Kingkate on Monday.

Mr Thiti said his wife was aware that her life was at risk because she was dealing with an influential figure.

(Source: Bangkok Post, Police link murder to land deals, King-Oua Laohong & Sunan Srinuanjan, link)

progress - the process of developing, improving and getting better over time ความเจริญ, ความก้าวหน้า
witnesses - people who see a crime happen and therefore can provide evidence in a criminal trial against someone accused of the crime
- acting slowly or with a delay (because you are worried or embarrassed)
come forward -
to offer someone information they (for a legal case, for example)
testify -
to say what you saw and know in a court of law, as evidence that might prove who carried out a crime
perpetrator - a person who does something that is illegal (or harmful or dishonest)
convicted -
when a court of law decides after viewing evidence that a person did a crime (and is punished)
implicated - showing that someone is involved in an illegal activity or some other bad activity
Benedict Anderson - a professor emeritus at Cornell University, a university that did a lot of research work in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and Indonesia during the Vietnam War era (See Wikipedia)
professor emeritus -  a retired university professor (See Wikipedia)

link - connect เชื่อม
murder - the crime of intentionally killing a person ฆาตกรรม
suspect - a person who is thought to have committed a crime ผู้ต้องสงสัย
purchase - buy
dispute - a serious disagreement or fight การโต้เถียง, ความขัดแย้ง
unidentified - not knowing who someone is
suspects - people that the police think might be guilty of a crime ผู้ต้องสงสัย
source - someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
influential - has a lot of power to make people agree with them and do what you wantที่มีอิทธิพลต่อ
figure - someone who is important in some way บุคคลสำคัญ
problems surrounding Y  -  all the problems that exist because Y exists (also: problems associated with..., problems connected with...)
provide - to give someone something that they want or need
alternative - another choice ตัวเลือก / ทางเลือก
plots - pieces of land
status - legal position สถานะ
check the status of the land - find out or determine exactly who owns the land
backlash - a strong negative and often angry reaction to something that has happened การสะท้อนกลับอย่างรุนแรง
legal backlash - a legal problem that could occur as a result of an action
prosecutor -
the lawyer whose job is to prove in court that someone accused of a crime is guilty
career - the job or long series of related jobs that you do and plan to do during your life  (See Wikipedia)
lease - a legal agreement to use land, building or equipment owned by another person for a period of time
tract - a large area of land
state - government รัฐ
aware - knowing that something exists, or having knowledge or experience of a particular thing ทราบ
risk - the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen ความเสี่ยง

About the author

Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer