Rungruedee Sithibut, a 43-year-old cleaner at Thepkrasattri Municipality Kindergarten in Thalang, suffered burns to her left arm, left shoulder and back. She was taken to Thalang Hospital after the attack at about midday.
Capt Kraisorn Boonprasop of the Thalang Police said police were hunting for Somkuan Jongsuk, 50.
“Mr Somkuan came to Thepkrasattri Municipality Kindergarten to meet with Ms Rungruedee at about noon,” Capt Kraisorn said.
“Ms Rungruedee was working when Mr Somkuan turned up on a motorbike. He shouted for her before he went inside the building. He poured fuel on her from a glass bottle and lit her on fire.
“Ms Rungruedee ran into the teachers’ room and doused herself with water from the bathroom, but Mr Somkuan followed her.
“There were five teachers inside the room, but they were too frightened of Mr Somkuan to restrain him. Instead, they called the police and after Mr Somkuan left they helped Ms Rungruedee,” Capt Kraisorn said.
“Luckily all children already had gone home at that time,” Capt Kraisorn added.
Ms Rungruedee and Somkuan have a history of violent arguments, Capt Kraisorn noted.
“They have had serious arguments before, and some of those argument have even ended up at the police station,” he said.
“Her ex-husband is still jealous even though they broke up a year ago, but she still helps him from time to time. Not long ago Somkuan was arrested for physical abuse while being drunk, and she bailed him out,” he said.
“Ms Rungruedee has not filed any formal complaint as she is still o hospital, but already because of the nature of this attack police must take action,” Capt Kraisorn said.
“Police are now tracking down Somkuan to face legal action. He is a Phuket native and we believe he is still on the island,” he added.