Police say the German man was sitting with two Thai friends near a park in Udon Thani’s Muang District in the early morning of Saturday (November 15) when three Thai teenagers suddenly attacked him with a garden hoe.
The man is now being treated for severe injuries in the ICU at Udon Thani Hospital. Medical workers say he suffered wounds on his face and skull that required immediate surgery. According to a doctor at the hospital, there’s only “50-50” chance that he will survive.
The attack also left one of the German’s friends with a broken arm, police say.
Police have arrested three suspects, two 18-year-olds and a 17-year-old, in connection with the crime.
Pol Col Surin Chaichomphu, deputy commander of Udon Thani Police, announced the arrests of the two 18-year-olds, Thanakorn Khusuwan and Surachet Sripolmuang, at the press conference yesterday (November 16). The third suspect, named only as “Wuth”, was not present at the press conference because he is a minor.
According to Col Surin, both men confessed to assaulting the German man.
Thanakorn and Surachet reportedly told police that they were drinking at Wuth’s house on Friday. After they became drunk, the teenagers reportedly drove around town on a motorcycle until they came across the German man and his friends in a park.
They also brought along a garden hoe as “protection” in case they encountered any members of a rival gang, Col Surin said.
After seeing the German and his friends, the three teenagers reportedly dared each other to imitate the murder of two British backpackers on the southern island of Koh Tao on September 15, in which the tourists were brutally beaten to death with a garden hoe.
Wuth reportedly accepted the challenge “out of drunkenness” and proceeded to beat the German and his friends with the garden hoe he had brought from home. The other two suspects soon joined in, Col Surin said.
“This action is a typical case of youthful recklessness,” Col Surin said at the press conference. “The three suspects are all students. But now they have ruined their futures.”
All three have been charged with physical assault causing grave injuries. Col Surin said a murder charge will be filed if the man dies from his injuries.
Pol Lt Col Kachornsak Wongsaraj, a detective officer at Muang Udon Thani Police Station, told reporters that the victim works as a language tutor for Udon Thani residents who plan to move to Germany.
The German was at the park in the early hours of November Saturday because he likes to watch the sunrise, Col Kachornsak added.