Family fears injustice in brawl-murder
Somkiat's cremation ceremony put on hold
The family of a disabled man who was stabbed to death on Sunday insisted they will not have the victim's body cremated as they fear that four of the six suspects who are the sons of police officers will not be brought to justice.
Rungnapa Sae-Iew, the 38-year-old wife of disabled bread deliveryman, Somkiat Sichan, who was killed in a deadly brawl, said that she and other family members agreed to postpone the cremation ceremony, which was scheduled to be held Thursday, until legal action is taken against the six suspects.
"We are afraid that the investigation will make slow progress because four of the suspects are sons of policemen. So we just want to seek justice for Somkiat today.
"Somkiat is dead. He can't speak for himself because he was brutally murdered. The suspects claimed that Somkiat attacked them first. But he was a family man and had never displayed aggressive behaviour. I don't believe he was the one who started the fight," Mrs Rungnapa said.
The six men were arrested by Chokechai police on Sunday after an altercation with Somkiat, who suffered from a leg disability, in Bangkok's Lat Phrao district turned violent. Somkiat was stabbed to death and one attacker was seriously wounded.
The violence erupted after the suspects made fun of Somkiat's job. Their conflict over a motorcycle incident is also believed to have fuelled the attack.
Two of the suspects are Akkaradet Thatsana, 22, and an 18-year-old boy. The other four were identified as Phiraphon Kerdjapo, 21; Arin Yotphonganan, 20; Mek Phonkraison, 19; and Monmanat Saengpho, 22. The last four are the sons of police officers.
A police source said three of the police officers hold the rank of police senior sergeant major while the other is a police lieutenant.
Two of the police senior sergeant majors work at Metropolitan Police Division 4 overseeing the Chokechai area where the brawl and murder took place. One police senior sergeant major and the police lieutenant work at Chokechai police station.
Meanwhile, acting city police chief Sanit Mahathaworn said a girlfriend of one of the suspects will be summoned for questioning after Anantachai Chaidet, a lawyer who witnessed the attack, lodged a complaint against her for allegedly threatening to harm him.
Mr Anantachai, whose law firm is located in the vicinity of the crime scene, filed a complaint yesterday at Chokechai police station against the woman for allegedly posting messages on her Facebook page threatening to harm him and attack his law firm, in violation of the Computer Crime Act. He also submitted pictures of the woman's Facebook page with the threatening messages to police as evidence.
The threat came after the lawyer, who witnessed the killing, gave an interview about the attack on a television programme broadcast by a domestic media outlet on Tuesday.
The lawyer said the woman's actions are regarded as intimidating a witness which would make other witnesses not want to testify in the investigation as they may fear for their own safety.
The intimidation also indicated that the suspects, including their friends and families, did not feel guilty about their actions, said the lawyer.
Somkiat's elder sister, Thanchanok, said her neighbours who witnessed the incident did not want to testify to police as they feared being attacked by friends of the suspects.
Mr Anantachai said that even though Mr Phiraphon, who was hurt in the fight, claimed he stabbed Somkiat to defend himself as the victim had attacked him first with a knife, footage captured by a security camera contradicted Mr Phiraphon's account.