A letter from a misunderstood victim
November 9, 2001
In the early morning of October 30, Duangchalerm Yoobamrung hastily wrote a farewell letter to his parents. He tucked the letter under his pillow before vanishing into the darkness of the Thon Buri orchards.
His handwriting was terrible. In the letter, the 22yearold fugitive grieved over his youthful fate, lamented about cruel Thai society and blamed the sleazy media, which went after him like hungry wolves.
He told his parents that he did not commit the crime at the Twenty Pub, Ratchadaphisek Road, in the early hours of October 29. But he could not surrender to the police for further investigation over the killing of Suwichai Rodwimud, or Ja Yim, because society had already crucified his good name in broad daylight.
Besides, he could never be sure that he would be entitled to justice in this land of pride and prejudice.
Chalerm Yoobamrung, the New Aspiration MP, artfully made public the letter as evidence of his son’s innocence. He has an unnatural reputation for crying wolf.
The letter adds a fresh element to the farce that, for the first time since the founding of Bangkok in 1782, pits the whole nation against one individual – Duangchalerm the Kid, in this particular case.
Later on, psychiatrists and police questioned the authenticity of the letter. Why should the writer blame society and the media when on the previous day society and the media barely mentioned Duangchalerm’s name in connection with the crime?
Was the letter written to divert attention while Duangchalerm was on run?
Like most crimes, the Twenty Pub shooting has been shrouded in fact and fantasy until nobody knows for sure what is real or unreal.
Then another letter has surfaced to further embellish this tragic episode. Its authenticity, like the first letter, has to be proven by Freudian psy?choanalysis before one may get to the bottom of the heart of the writer.
Dear Daddy and Mummy,
Chai is fine. Don’t worry about Chai because I am still in Bangkok, hanging out from one pub to another. You know, I cannot go very far from the nighttime attractions, with all the colours, the lights and the luk thung music.
But Chai is more careful this time. If anybody steps on Chai’s foot, Chai would simply look into his face and say, “Do you know who I am?” That would scare the hell out of him. Chai is my own man now. Before Chai was not my own man. Chai had to scream “Do you know who my father is?” whenever Chai was in a bar brawl.
Chai is proud that from now on Daddy can go about yelling, “Do you know who my son is?” to others who have no respect for our family.
Thanks to Daddy, the police and the media were fooled. Although Chai has been in Bangkok all the time, the police have gone after me on a trail that took them from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi, then back to Chon Buri, to Trad and then to Koh Kong. Now they believe that I have gone all the way to Malaysia. This is quite funny.
Chai would like to stress again that Chai did not commit the crime or kill Ja Yim. Have you ever heard about the “Hand of God”? In the 1989 World Cup, as you may recall, Diego Maradona led his Argentine team to beat the English. He did not score a certain goal, but, for some superstitious reason, Argentina got the “Hand of God” goal.
About that night, I cannot recall exactly the whole incident. But it so happened that the lights came up after the closing hour of the Twenty Pub at around onethirty in the morning. There was a big quarrel and a brawl, with some furious physical contact. Then there was a gunshot. It must be the Hand of God. Then Ja Yim fell after a bullet went through his forehead. That was it.
The next morning, cruel society pointed the finger at me, although I had had nothing to do with the shooting.
If we had decided to build a pub in our 14rai compound in Thon Buri, I would not have had to run away like this because we could have had fun together in our house. The only problem is that Daddy would never find out who among us – Brother Tong or Brother Num or Chai – beat him up when he wakes up in the morning.
Chai sent out a message through a pager service to my friend. “I am now in big trouble. Could I stay over with you for a few nights? Chai.” Chai doesn’t know why the whole of Bangkok knows about this message. Can Daddy find this out for me?
Uncle Jiew, to whom Chai owes a great deal, has confused a lot of people again with his statement. Chai, too, doesn’t understand his riddle when he said that one could never escape from the three rules. The first was the rule of law. The second was the rule of society. The third was the rule of karma. Since Daddy is going to get his PhD in law, you may help me unravel this riddle. But it seems that all the three rules are going after me all at once. This is not fair.
With all my heart,
PS. Chai will give Thai society some more time to improve its attitude and standards before Chai surrenders myself to fight for justice.