KANCHANABURI: A 63-year-old German whose Thai wife had recently left him after 21 years together was found dead after a fire destroyed their house on Monday morning.
Police identified the dead man as Uwe Albrecht. He was found hanging from the wrought iron fence of the house. Earlier reports said he was hanging from a beam in the kitchen.
There was a spray-painted message on an exterior wall, saying, "21-year cheating but never enough, fuck you".
The victim's wife, Kamolwan Albrecht, 60, told investigators that her husband left his country to marry her and lived with her for 21 years, police said.
According to Mrs Kamolwan, she went to live in Kanchanaburi's Phanom Thuan district last month, leaving her husband to live alone in the house. She was shocked to learn of his death and rushed to the scene. She did not elaborate on her decision to move to Phanom Thuan.
Police speculated that Albrecht decided to set the house on fire and hang himself because he was hurt when his wife left him on his own.
The man's body was sent for post-mortem examination to determine whether he committed suicide or was murdered.
The fire was reported about 3.30am at house 452 in Kanchanaburi Villa Housing Estate in tambon Tha Makham of Muang district, Pol Lt Suthikan Iamsamang, Muang duty officer, said.
Ten fire engines from Muang, Tha Makham and Pak Phraek municipalities were dispatched to fight the blaze.
The two-storey house was burning fiercely when the firemen arrived. They had to cut a padlock to slide open the main gate and enter the premises. It took them about an hour to put out the flames.
Neighbours told police the dead man had lived in the house for about 10 years with his Thai wife. Lately, the wife only visited him once in a while.
They said the man rarely talked to them.
They said that shortly before 3.30am they heard three or four loud explosions inside the house. They went outside to look and saw the house on fire. They called the police.
When firemen and police examined the second floor, they found two 15-kilogramme gas cylinders, each ringed with four burned car tyres.
They speculated that the German set fire to the car tyres, intending to burn down the house, before going downstairs to hang himself.
The investigation was continuing.