Published on July 8, 2007
How dare this man go on the offensive in this case? How dare he assume that he is now in a position to call the shots?
When one person is dead and three others are seriously injured, his son is the one who must answer for his actions. If he drove into a crowd of people standing on the sidewalk because he was upset over his Benz being damaged by a bus, he must answer for those actions.
I would suggest that a despicable value system passed down from father to son should be looked at as integral to this case. The father's observation that one of the victims, a bus conductress, was an "uneducated and low-class person", shows clearly enough that the father himself is a person who discriminates on the basis of class.
He is now offering a reward to people who witnessed damage being done to the Mercedes. I would like to ask him: "Dear sir, when one person is dead and three seriously injured, why in the world should anyone care about your Mercedes Benz?"
He goes on to say that he will compensate the victims "as deemed necessary and appropriate. But the amount must not be too much". News flash for him: he doesn't get to determine that. Let his son be punished to the full execution of justice under the law, and let the victims of this tragedy soak this greedy family for as much as the courts will allow.
Let this case be one that all can turn to and hold up as an example of how the kind of arrogance that the Benz-driver and his father have shown towards the law and towards human life will not be tolerated in modern Thailand.
Suspect in Benz crash belongs in police custody
It's undisputed that Kanpitak Pachimsawas deliberately drove his Benz into a crowd of bus passengers, killing one and critically injuring three others. Also the driver apparently sat immobile at the wheel while bystanders tried to free those trapped underneath him, and bystanders allegedly physically attacked the Benz driver and his car.
This is a high-profile, albeit tragic, opportunity for Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont to show that we do, in fact, have rule of law. Kanpitak's family is highly influential. If "Khun No-name" deliberately ran his pickup into a crowd, killing and maiming, I'd hope that the police would have him securely locked up, as he'd be a clear and present danger to all around him; why hasn't Kanpitak been jailed? Supposedly he's injured, hence residing in Samitivej Hospital, but surely jails have facilities for ill inmates?
Kan-anek, the driver's dad, said that he'd sue bystanders for damaging his son's murder weapon, the Benz, and that "compensation [for the murdered and injured] must not be too much". The courts might want to see if his son agrees with him, and take his attitude into account in meting out punishment.
Kan-anek said that the bus conductor was one of his son's attackers and that she was "ill-educated", presumably implying that lacking a formal education leads to jungle behaviour like attacking others. May I ask him, then, what famous university his son graduated from, that he'd use his car to deliberately attack a crowd of innocent people - and not move a finger to help those he'd killed or maimed?
On the other hand, Kan-anek is correct in saying that "mob rule cannot be above rule of law". Those who attacked his son and the Benz must be identified and dealt with according to law - just as Kanpitak must also be.
Show us, Prime Minister Surayud, that the law is blind - starting with denying bail to those who kill deliberately.
Wealthy must learn they are not above the law
Re: "Beauty queen's son slapped with murder charge", News, July 6.
The issue does not have the scope and scale of current-event stories defining Thailand that deal with government systemic corruption, military takeovers (and predictable defence spending taking money from education), democracy debates, xenophobic flag-waving, human-rights abuses, economic predicaments, environmental destruction, social scandals and censorship. It may not even be as compelling as the apparent lack of interest in and questions about how a police officer in the drug-squad can afford to buy two Ferraris.
What the story does touch on is whether celebrities and the well-connected are seen to be immune from responsibility for their negligence. The Nation noted that the uncle of the person driving the Benz is a former senior police officer. Some might suggest that since a policeman's family is involved, he might not face the same consequences as regular folks.
These people allowed their son, who they knew to be mentally unstable, to have possession of a car. The parents of the young man are directly responsible for the death and injuries to those innocent people. Taking away his car keys and giving him refuge as a monk to make merit … I'm sure you will censor the expression of my feelings on that.
Will regular people be protected by the system?
Poor visibility the least of the dangers on roads
Re: "BMTA action plan needed to cut down on city bus accidents", Letters, July 6.
I was mystified by Richard Stampfle's suggestions that drivers hit other motorists because they can't see them due to windscreen clutter. Just where does Richard do his driving? Has he really spent much time driving in Thailand?
I have spent approximately 20 years driving both cars and motorcycles around northern Thailand and find this theory hard to believe. I know for a fact that drivers have seen me, and they flash their lights at me. They do this in response to me flashing at them as they attempt a U-turn on a highway with me only 50 metres away and fast approaching.
They flash their lights at me as they are overtaking in narrow two-lane roads, and they are driving straight at me on my side of the road.
They also do this when they are driving at night in the wrong direction on a four-lane highway and all I can see are headlights coming directly at me. Oh yes, I'm sure they can see me, but they just don't care.
In another recent near miss, the driver was just too busy on the phone to bother with either correct steering or gear changes. But she saw me - she waved at me to get out the way.
A friend of mine, also a long-time resident of Chiang Mai, said he gave up riding his motorcycle because he was treated "no better than a stray dog" and just never felt safe. I'm afraid the report on a young driver purposely driving his Mercedes into a crowd on a footpath in Bangkok supports my view that aggression and arrogance are more to blame that obscured vision. Maybe a decent time spent mulling things over in prison would help.
Ex-PM's talk of charity work good for a laugh
Re: "Justice system ruined: Thaksin", News, July 6.
Thaksin says he will return to his native land when democracy is restored and spend his time teaching and taking part in charity work, according to a report when he went to Takushoku University as a visiting professor.
One wonders whether Thaksin is now perfecting his routine as a comedian.
'Nation' articles differ on potability of tap water
In your editorial on July 1, "Put the lid on bottled water", you advised that Bangkokians should stop wasting money on bottled water and feel confident in drinking tap water, "which is now perfectly safe to drink in Bangkok and the vicinity".
The editorial stated: "Bangkok's water-supplier uses state-of-the-art production processes to supply the city's residents with clean tap water that meets or even exceeds the standard set by the World Health Organisation." I was glad to read this, as I buy a lot of bottled water based on the advice I've always heard to avoid the tap water here.
Then, in "Dr Mike's Advice" column of July 4 ("Ask Dr Mike"), Dr Mike Miller said: "I don't think the tap water is safe to drink, even in Bangkok". He cited no supporting evidence, though.
So what are the facts?