Kulthida Chananan, 26, told The Phuket News on Wednesday (May 12) that so far she has received just B20,000 from the Royal Thai Police after Cpl Pornthep Channarong, an officer with the Phuket Provincial Police at the time, shot her husband Aroon Thongplab while drunk on Patong’s main nightlife entertainment street in the early hours of Feb 23.
Pornthep, who has been stripped of his rank and dismissed from the police force, shot noodle vendor Mr Aroon, 25, just before 6am while Mr Aroon was returning from collecting a noodle bowl from a customer down the street.
During the unprovoked attack, after shooting Mr Aroon in the stomach, Pornthep continued his abuse by taunting and kicking Mr Aroon.
Pornthep has been charged with attempted murder, carrying a firearm in a public area without necessary reason, and firing a weapon in a public area.
Mr Aroon survived the gunshot wound and woke from a coma after being rushed to Vachira Phuket Hospital, but was left paralysed as the bullet had hit his spine.
He will not walk again.
“I am glad he is now out of the ICU,” Ms Kultida said at Vachira Phuket Hospital on Wednesday.
Mr Aroon is now under care in a recovery wing at the hospital, she added.
“His condition has improved a lot overall. He is able to move his arms and his hands, and he can scoop up rice and feed himself, but he still needs a tube in his throat [to remove sputum],” Ms Kulthida explained.
“He is unable to move any parts of his lower body. The doctors’ latest concern is a blood clot that he has in his left leg,” she said.
Ms Kulthida explained that the hospital has yet to present any bills for treatment.
“There is still more to come, as my husband still has physical therapy to go through… If his condition improves, he will be able to come home,” Ms Kulthida said.
To cope with living expenses Ms Kulthida has so far received B20,000 handed over by the commander of the Region 8 Police. No other support has been forthcoming, she confirmed.
“The case is still in process at the Phuket Provincial Court. As for any compensation, there have been no contributions from the perpetrator. Until today, we still have not heard anything from them about this,” she said.
Moved by Ms Kulthida’s plight, Mr Smulders, who runs the Soul of Asia galleries at Surin Plaza and Porto de Phuket, reached out to her to see what support could be provided.
“This man’s life and that of his wonderful family have been destroyed and he will need help for a long time,” Mr Smulders told The Phuket News.
“Even when he gets out of the hospital maybe in a few weeks when he can sit by himself he needs at least an adjustable electric hospital bed with a mattress, a suction device and suction equipment, gloves, medication, and so on,” he said.
Mr Smulders presently estimates that the family, the couple have one young daughter and a baby boy, will need at least B25,000 per month, much of that just for rent.
“The family needs to rent a larger room as where they currently stay is just too small. They also need to pay for medical supplies, diapers, regular nursing care, and more,” he said.
“Before this horrible incident, Mr Aroon looked after his wonderful family with great love and care. He has two children: one daughter and a young son of six months. His wife is now basically looking after her husband 24 hours a day in the hospital whilst the children are with the grandmother with no visitors allowed at present due to COVID,” Mr Smulders pointed out.
Ms Kulthida is overwhelmed in her current situation, Mr Smulders noted.
Her words to him were, “I do not know how to handle this horrible calamity that hit our little family: we were happy and content with our simple food stall business where I helped him [husband Aroon] wherever I could, with the grandmother looking after the children.
“Due to COVID Soi Bangla is closed and so is our mee [noodle] business, which before provided us with sufficient income. I cannot face all the expenses as we need to move to a larger room to accommodate my family, my grandmother and the medical needs of my husband,” Ms Kulthida said.
“I am desperate for help until at least we can restart the food stall. Then with the help of the whole family we can hopefully provide for ourselves again, hopefully with my husband also helping from a wheelchair or looking after the kids,” she said.
Through his lawyer Jaruwan ‘Tum’ Kavindechatorn, Mr Smulders has arranged for people to be able to make donations directly to support Ms Kulthida.
Ms Jaruwan owns and operates accounting company AC Consulting Group Co Ltd and AC Legal Advisors Co Ltd, both in Phuket Town (at 561/10 Phuket Rd, T. Taladyai A. Muang Phuket 83000, Tel: 076-250599, Mobile: 081-8931647).
“The owner of AC Legal Advisors, Khun Tum, has agreed to report regularly on the use of the funds and on further news of Khun Aroon,” Mr Smulders said.
Mr Smulders also confirmed that he would very kindly double any donations up to B100,000 maximum in total.
Contributions can be made directly to:
Account Name: Ms Kuntita Chananan
Account Number: 674 0397010
Bank Name: Bangkok Bank
Swift Code: BKKBTHBK
“After you make the transfer please inform me via email email@example.com, by LINE ID tum_jaruwan or by mobile: 081 8931647,” Ms Jaruwan noted.
- Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub.