Thai foreman charged in shooting death of 2 Cambodian construction workers

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A Thai construction foreman was arrested for allegedly shooting dead two Cambodian laborers who supposedly had talked disrespectfully to his crew.

Anantasith Saenpholmuang, 29, was captured near Underwater World Aug. 12. The Sukhothai native was found in possession of a loaded handgun.

Houch Nhoem, 33, and “La,” 28, both were killed with .38-caliber handgun shots to the chest and abdomen near the Peach Tower construction camp on Pratamnak Soi 2 the same day.

Anantasith Saenpholmuang reenacts his crime for police.Anantasith Saenpholmuang reenacts his crime for police.

Police said Anantasith confessed to killing the two men, but claimed it was in self-defense after about 30 Thai and Cambodian construction workers got into a drunken brawl.

Anantasith claimed that, on repeated occasions, the Cambodians would drink and get rowdy, then begin insulting Thai workers who walked by or, worse, made lewd remarks to the Thais’ families and children. When he tried to talk to them about the complaints, the Khmers talked disrespectfully and refused to apologize, he said.

Police said the foreman confessed to taking about 15 co-workers to the Cambodians’ camp to “teach them a lesson,” but the fight got out of hand and the Khmer workers turned the table on their Thai aggressors. Anantasith said he ran from the group and fired back at the pursuing gang.

The Cambodians’ anger was still on full display as police made Anantasith reenact the crime Aug. 13, with several trying to attack the suspect. Police held back the crowd.

About 40 Cambodian workers stopped work on the condominium project until funeral services could take place and burial offerings were laid at the scene of the shooting. Meanwhile, Region 2 police commanders ordered a check of all the Khmer workers to determine if they were working legally in the kingdom. Any found not to be would be deported.

Anantasith was charged with murder and possession of illegal weapons.