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CSI Thailand



Apparently the murderer wanted to make certain that the victim was well and truly dead. The crime scene was a bloody mess. Not to worry though, Thailand’s finest and highly trained criminal investigators were on the case! The perp might run, but he couldn’t hide…at least not for long! The long arm of the law would be apprehending this guy pronto!

Okay I do admit that I’m laying it on a bit thick, at least as far as the boys in brown are concerned, but recently there really was a murder just a stone’s throw from our home. I of course was not home when the police were swarming all over the crime scene. I was out for the evening at a school function. I am rarely out after sundown these days. Frankly I’m just too tired to even think of going out. I am content to enjoy dinner, play with my little boy and watch a little of whatever’s on the Discovery Channel or National Geographic. Early to bed and early to rise. Such is my life.

That evening I arrived home around 10:30. I knew something was up when I saw every light in the house blazing away. My tee-rak is notoriously cheap when it comes to wasting electricity, so I couldn’t imagine why she’d have the wheel on our electric meter spinning around like crazy. I hadn’t even finished locking the front gate when my wife came running out of the kitchen door. “Are they still there?” she managed to choke out.

“Is who where?” I replied. I was clueless, that is to say the situation was completely normal.

“The police!” she cried out, shaking like a leaf.

“What are you talking about? I don’t see any police. What are you talking about?”

Eventually she calmed down enough to catch her breathe. Then I got an earful about bloody murder.

In the world of Thai gossip, what can possibly be juicer than a bloody murder? Especially when it happens practically next door! Well, a lurid sex scandal perhaps. But homicide probably trumps sex, at least some of the time.

So…how exactly did my wife know about all of this? Well, the same way she knows anything that happens in our neighborhood. Our resident gossip Koong rang her up to tell all the grisly particulars! I think in every culture there are people whose greatest joy in life is peeping and prying into everyone’s business, and then “telling all” to anyone who will listen. So even here in the Land of Smiles Mrs. Grundy is alive and well. When a serious snoop is on patrol, it’s best to keep the curtains closed! My wife claims not to be the least interested in idle gossip. In general she’s a pretty quiet gal, but seems inordinately capable of quoting chapter and verse about other people’s peccadilloes. All this falls on deaf ears as far as I’m concerned. I decidedly do not want to know about any scandal. Tabloids are completely wasted on me. I couldn’t care less about someone else’s “sins”.

Anyway, getting back to the story. The place where the murder occurred was right across from Koong’s house, probably to the consternation of the police. Koong was in heaven. As for the victim, well you can take your pick of the following: a) she is in some kind of ethereal paradise, b) she is burning in hell, c) she is starting on another trip around “the wheel”, or d) she’s simply pushing up daisies. Your guess is as good as mine. The murder scene was a small restaurant located in a house just outside the gates of our housing development. It had opened to no great fanfare about a year and a half ago. Nothing fancy. Just your average Thai eatery, serving the same old stuff. I had never eaten there. My wife ate there just once, and pronounced the food “very bad.”

I have no clear recollection of the woman who lived there, never having seen her close up. We did exchange desultory waves from time to time when I rode by on my bicycle. The place did a modest business, never really busy, but not entirely deserted either. I never saw the woman’s husband / boyfriend. Thai marriages are a little loose on legal niceties. The only reason I knew that there was indeed any such person is that, according to my wife, who heard it from Koong that the husband murdered this woman and “dozens” of police officers had been on the scene that evening. Dozens? That sounded like an exaggeration. Was this woman a secret VIP to warrant such attention? I doubt it.

“There was blood every where.”

How would she know? Well, knowing Koong, she was probably over there in a flash with some refreshments for the officers, while surreptitiously casing out the joint. No doubt she had plenty of information to share as well. According to my wife, the husband / boyfriend had clearly done the foul deed. He was “from the South” which was disapproved of by Koong.

“You can’t trust those Southern men!”

Now I don’t have the faintest idea of Thai investigative techniques. Are they any good at forensics? Do local detectives communicate with their counterparts throughout the kingdom? Was an APB put out on the suspect? What is the success rate in Thai homicide investigations? Are we talking about professionals or just the Thai version of the Keystone Cops, with a plate of som tam taking the place of a box of doughnuts? I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has real knowledge of how these things work.

I have no idea if the alleged murderer has been caught. Is it easier or more difficult to be “on the lam” in Thailand rather than in Farangland? I would think the fact that Thais routinely have to show their identity card wouldn’t help the fellow stay under the radar.

I’ve done my best to calm my wife down. This was a domestic crime. The odds are pretty damned high that a deranged killer is not lurking in the bushes waiting to do us all in during the dead of night. If she really wanted to feel more secure, how about talking our neighbors into hiring a security guard? There is a guardhouse at the entrance to our development. How much could it possibly cost to hire someone from dusk to dawn? Personally I’ll sleep just as well without a “professional” (lol!) “on duty”. Hell, we have two policemen living there. One is a local patrolman; the other is a high ranking officer in Chiang Mai. There is no way on earth that I’m about to lead a crusade. I’ll just keep my usual low profile, thank you very much! The last thing anyone need is some Farang making waves. In the meantime I’ll leave the crime solving up to C.S.I. Thailand!

Stickman's thoughts:

Wow, that is close to your place! I cannot remember seeing an eatery there though.