CHIANG MAI – Thirty five-year-old Nic Brown, a freelance writer and English teacher, was in Chiang Mai last June when he entered a bar and tried to break up a fight. He says a Thai man, Don Praweenmet, was drunk and causing trouble at the bar.
“He was being aggressive, at one point he sort of sexually harassed one of the waitresses who was dating a bartender,” said Brown. He managed to break up the scuffle, but Praweenmet later returned that night with a gun and opened fire.
Three tourists where shot including Brown. His rib shattered and bits of bone went into his spine.
He spent months in a Thai hospital. The shooter was arrested and released on bail. He faces several charges including three counts of attempted murder and will go to trial this year.
Brown is worried that the man who left him in a wheelchair will not pay the price for his alleged crime. Brown says Thai newspapers have paid little attention to this case. Praweenmet is a dentistry student and comes from an upper class family.
“People who are well off in Thailand tend to escape the full amount of justice that they would receive otherwise. So we’re worried that he won’t be in jail for too long and that I might not even be compensated at all” says Brown.
What started out as the experience of a lifetime, turned into a nightmare, and Brown often looks back about being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
“It goes through my mind you know those things like what if I had been standing either to the left or the right.”