Burmese man kills compatriot over unpaid debt in Pattaya

Paramedics work frantically to try to save Phon Jantra’s life, but he succumbed to the knife wounds on reaching the Pattaya City Hospital.

Pattaya police are hunting a Burmese man who allegedly stabbed his countryman over an unpaid debt.

Phon Jantra, 45, died Aug. 1 after being stabbed three times in the chest at a speedboat garage on Soi Tungklom Tanmun in Nongprue in east Pattaya.

Police are now chasing garage co-owner Weera Boonmee, 47, who allegedly confessed to his partner on the telephone that he stabbed Phon, who came to collect more than 50,000 owed to him. An argument turned to violence, with Weera allegedly putting Phon in a headlock and then stabbing him repeatedly.

Speedboat driver Mongkol Tirach, 47, said he had driven Phon to meet Weera and that Phon called him around 8 p.m. to pick him up. When he arrived on his sidecar motorcycle, Phon jumped in and shouted for him to go quickly, as he’d been stabbed.

Mongkol raced toward the hospital, but Phon lost consciousness on the way. Rather than continue to the hospital, he stopped on the roadside and called paramedics. He was pronounced dead at Pattaya City Hospital.

Pattaya police rushed to the scene of the crime to investigate and to arrest Weera Boonmee who allegedly stabbed Phon, but he was not to be found.

Weera’s business partner, identified only as “Jeed”, 63, told police he called Weera after learning of the stabbing and his partner confessed to killing Phon. Jeed said Weera claimed he did it because Phon threatened to shoot him if he didn’t repay his debt.

Both men were longtime friends, having emigrated from Shan State in Myanmar decades ago. Phon became a naturalized Thai citizen in 2007 and maintained a house in Chiang Mai. He worked in Pattaya, however, selling fuel to speedboats on Koh Larn where he became well-known.

Police said their investigation showed that while Weera fled his garage, he remained in the Pattaya area and will be captured if he doesn’t turn himself in.