SAMUT PRAKAN: A 41-year-old father overwhelmed with family debt is believed to have killed his wife and two sons and then slashed his own throat.
A call scam which cost his wife 1.7 million baht she had herself borrowed was thought to be the tipping point.
The tragedy unfolded at the family's three-storey townhouse on a road behind Wat Nam Daeng in tambon Bang Kaew in Bang Phli district and was reported to local police about 1am on Monday.
Police sent to the scene found on the first floor the bodies of Wipaporn Racha, the 44-year-old wife, and the couple's youngest son, 9-year-old Punnapat Dokmai. Both had deep cuts to their neck and body.
On the second floor they found the second son, 13-year-old Boonyanont Dokmai, dead in front of a bedroom door. The husband, Sanit Dokmai, lay face up on the floor holding his bleeding neck, which had a deep slash across it. His wrist was also cut. Rescue workers gave him first aid and he was rushed to hospital.
The husband's work supervisor, Tharinee Sengsant, 46, told police that Mr Sanit phoned her after midnight and told her he had killed his wife and two sons. She called his neighbour and rushed to the house while the neighbour called police.
She said Mr Sanit had earlier told her he was in danger of losing the house because he had guaranteed a car loan for another person who defaulted. He said he could clear the debt if he could get a small loan.
However, his wife had recently been tricked by a call scammer and borrowed about 1.7 million baht and transferried the money to the fraudster. Creditors were demanding repayment from his family every day.
The damage from the scam could well have been the last straw, leading to the tragedy, Ms Tharinee said.
Wiroon Kaew-on, a colleague of Mr Sanit, said the man was normally calm and hardworking and neither smoked nor drank a lot. However, he had been persistently worried about his family's debts, Mr Wiroon said.
Pol Col Rangsan Khamsuk, acting chief of Bang Kaew police station, said that last Friday the slain wife, Wipaporn, filed a complaint. She said she had applied for a 100,000 baht loan. using a phone loan app, and been tricked into paying more than one million baht for supposed "procedural fees".