More attention is being paid to resolving domestic violence after a spike in family- and love-related killings, the chief of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) says.
The time has come for police to take more assertive action to prevent personal and domestic conflicts from escalating into violence, CSD chief Supisarn Phakdinaruenart said.
"Police cannot ignore family problems because they can lead to fatal consequences," he said.
Pol Maj Gen Supisarn was referring to a spate of highly publicised violent crimes in recent weeks, all apparent crimes of passion, which has left 10 people dead and a 20-year-old girl with horrific injuries.
"These events did not take place on television shows. Love, hatred and jealousy _ frequent themes in many soap operas _ are now being seen more and more in real life," the police chief said.
The first murder, on Nov 7, involved a divorced couple who quarrelled at a Krung Thai bank branch at Wanason building near the Phaya Thai intersection.
Nutthaya Bunyayothin, 43, the owner of Kaomai Fairu tutoring centre, and her ex-husband Sombat Thanomwacha, 46, a tutor at the school, had been separated for some time. Police believed finances were among the causes of the quarrel. The ex-husband decided to end the argument by gunning down his ex-wife inside the bank before later shooting himself.
Five days later, police in Lat Krabang district were called after a girl, identified as Thanyarat Phuthon, an Ubon Ratchathani resident, was severely injured, allegedly by a spurned lover.
She had suffered severe burns allegedly inflicted by her ex-boyfriend Ekkaphon Udommala, 19. Mr Ekkaphon later turned himself in to police, allegedly telling them he did it after Ms Thanyarat left him.
He allegedly pinched and pulled her hair before dousing it with oil and setting her on fire.
The same day, two male students were found dead at Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, believed to have been the victims of a forbidden love affair.
Police said a junior student at the university, 20-year-old Phaisan Sikhacha, had been shot dead by Ramkhamhaeng University second-year student Phongphawat Chaichip, 21, who then turned the gun on himself.
Phongphawat had apparently decided to take Phaisan's life and his own because Paisan's father did not approve of the homosexual relationship.
On Friday, a man and a woman were found dead in a store at Talat Thai, a market in Pathum Thani.
Police suspect Thanet Phosuwan, a 36-year-old father of two, shot his new girlfriend Phonphan Phusiphong, 26, out of jealousy after accusing her of seeing another man.
The latest crime occurred in Songkhla on Saturday, when police found four dead bodies _ one male and three females _ at a house on Thai Buri road in the Songkhla municipality.
Police said a Myanmar national, identified only as Tia, 50, had hacked his wife Wandi Chuchuai, 45, and two daughters _ Chadaphon, 13, and Daruni, 12 _ with an axe before hanging himself.
The tragedy took place after Tia and his wife were involved in several loud arguments, neighbours told police.
Commenting on the recent violence, Pol Maj Gen Supisarn said police could no longer ignore private conflicts because they could lead to fatal consequences.
Police could help prevent the violence by exercising a law which enables them to intervene and help mediate conflicts before they get out of hand. But it still requires victims to take the first step.
The law, introduced in 2007, allows people who feel they are the victims of family-related violence to inform police of their problems. Police can then intervene as mediators to prevent the conflicts from escalating.
Pol Lt Col Anchuli Thirawongphaisan, a psychiatrist at Police General Hospital, suggested that those at risk of domestic violence take a cautious approach to communicating with their partners.
"Don't challenge them or speak strongly," she said.
"If one wants to end a relationship with a partner [who has an aggressive disposition], do it gently and avoid hurting them too much. This can help protect against unexpected acts of violence."
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- Writer: Wassayos Ngamkham