A village head in Southern Thailand has shot and killed a renowned development monk and his companion for violating the night curfew. The fatal shooting occurred near the entrance to Khao Phela monastery in Surat Thani.
Wisut Intharakamnoen, chief of Tha Chana district, said it was reported to him about 2am on Tuesday. He then informedpolice chief Pol Col Thitiwat Suthitivanich at the Thana Chan police station. From the police station both chief accompanied by police officers went to thee crime scene.
Up arrival they found a converted flatbed pickup truck loaded with torches and fuel parked on the road. A man was lying dead in the back with a gunshot wound to his neck. He was later identified later as 48 year-old Churat Khongkhlai of Surat Thani.
About 10 meters away, was the body of Phra Chonlathan Thavaro Kanchanabut, 49, the abbot of Khao Phela monastery. He had two gunshot wounds, one in the back of his head and the other in his right rib cage.
A handgun was found near his body. Mr. Manop Kopin, 55, the headman was waiting for police, and surrendered to them.
The assistant district chief, Panyaporn Wattanapramote said he received a report from Thasaphon Thipsak, chief of tambon Samor Thong, that two people had been arrested about 12.30am for leaving their homes during the 10pm-4am curfew.
Headman said Monk had a gun
He led a team to the area and found Mr. Manop and his team had already detained Mr Churat and Phra Chonlathan. They had seized the truck and equipment used for catching bees.
Mr Panyaporn said while he was reporting the curfew violation to the district chief over the phone, he heard gunshots. He went to check and found the village head had shot dead the monk and also the layman.
During police interrogation, Mr Manop claimed he saw the monk pulling out a pistol and Mr Churat grabbing a knife. He was frightened, believing they would attack him, and fired three shots at them, killing the pair on the spot.
Police detained the village head for further interrogation. Forensic officers were collecting evidence from the scene.
Phra Chonlathan was a development monk in Tha Chana district. He played a key role in leading local residents to build weirs and also planting trees. In 2016, he received the Hemmarat award for being a good role model in the field of forest and environment protection. Furthermore 2 years later, he received another award for being a good role model.