CHIANG MAI – Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has ordered police to step up efforts to combat Thailand’s chronic drink driving problem after a drunk student killed three cyclists in Chiang Mai early Sunday morning.
That tragic incident prompted Prayuth to order an immediate nationwide crackdown on drink driving. Khaosod English reported that the prime minister “specifically instructed police to organize more road check points and strictly refuse any bribes from motorists”.
“General Prayuth (Ret) has also ordered police to investigate the facts that led to this tragedy,” junta spokesman Maj.Gen. Sansern said, according to the Khaosod report. “For example, to find out where the [driver] was drinking. If it was a nightlife establishment, they must check whether illegal activity was involved, such as possible violation of a mandatory closing time, because the incident took place early in the morning but the motorist said she was still intoxicated.”
Chiang Mai residents reported increased police check points on the roads on Sunday and Monday nights.
Monday night’s accident in Bangkok came less than 40 hours after the Chiang Mai tragedy.
The Bangkok Post reports, Cyclist Thanyakorn Densirimongkol, 31 died in hospital around 3.30am today and two fellow cyclists were injured after a car hit them on Ratchada-Ram Intra Road, in front of the Bangkok Boulevard housing estate, at 10pm Monday.
Khok Khram police found the wreckage of three bicycles and a black Honda Jazz about 50 meters away, but the motorist had fled the scene.
Mr. Thanyakorn was admitted in critical condition and died about five hours later. Nikom Chenpimai, 36, went into surgery while another unidentified cyclist suffered shoulder, elbow and leg injuries.
Witnesses told the police that the three bikers were together in the left lane of outbound Ratchada-Ram Intra Road. The Honda behind them was weaving on the road and hit the moving group. The Jazz then hit a barrier before spinning onto the centre island.
A young man emerged from the car, looked at the bikers and ran away, witnesses said.
In February Chilean Juan Francisco Guillermo died after being hit by a truck in Nakhon Ratchasima province, bringing an end to his attempt to set a Guinness World Record by cycling 250,000km in five years on five continents.
A year earlier British couple Peter Root and Mary Thompson were killed when they were hit by a truck east of Bangkok. Alcohol was not blamed in either of those accidents, though in the latter case the driver told police that he hit the couple while he was bending down looking for a hat. Reckless driving was blamed in the former case.