A man having dinner at a Huay Yai friend’s house died after being struck by a bullet fired into the air by revelers in a passing wedding parade.
Five men in their early 20s were arrested and released on 150,000 baht bail each Feb. 28 for their alleged role in killing 36-year-old Thanet Inwong as he dined with his girlfriend at a friend’s small mushroom farm in Huay Kai Tao village two days earlier.
Weerawan Supachon, 45, told police they heard a parade of family and friends of Sumet Lomrob, 25, passing by the farm celebrating his wedding when a barrage of shots rang out. Weerawan told Thanet to stay inside, but it didn’t matter as a bullet came crashing through the ceiling, hitting him in the chest near the heart.
Homeowner Supalert Hopetch, 38, ran outside and screamed at the marchers to stop shooting handguns into the air, but they ignored him until they found out they had killed someone. The shooters then fled the scene.
Police questioned the newlyweds, who lived only 100 meters from Supalert, but both bride and groom refused to cooperate. Even though police recovered 9-, 11- millimeter and .38-caliber bullet casings from the parade route, the newlyweds brazenly denied anyone was shooting.
Sumet later was instructed to at least turn in the guns to police, but by Feb. 28 they still had not complied.
After two days, neither bride nor groom had visited Thanet’s girlfriend to express their condolences.
Held in police custody, the wedding couple eventually coughed up the names of 21-year-olds Wasin Krongkaew, Atit Lomrob, Jirapat Lomrob and Sahapap Sabooram, and 23-year-old Thinapat Charoensri as the alleged shooters. They turned themselves in Feb. 27.
They were arrested and denied bail by Huay Yai police, but released on bond by the Pattaya Provincial Court.
Shooting guns at weddings has a long and tragic history in Thailand. The archaic tradition began in more than 100 years ago when weddings were targeted by roving bandits hungry to steal the large “sin sod”, or dowry, men traditionally pay – and then audaciously display – at weddings.
Groomsmen, then, were armed to keep the robbers away. While urban weddings are not threatened by thieves, young Thais bucks have kept up the tradition, carelessly shooting handguns into the air to show their bravado, not considering that something that goes up eventually comes down.