Thai policeman shoots Canadian tourists

John Leo Del Pinto is dead while his friend Carly Reisig recovers from a bullet wound in the chest. The 25 year old Canadian man died of a gunshot wounds early Sunday in Pai, a backpacker resort in northern Thailand. This much is clear: the account of the killing provided by the Thai police is wildly at odds with the surviving victim's account. CBC reports (via Fonzi):
The officer involved, Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat, told Thai investigators the pair attacked him when he tried to intervene, and that his gun "accidentally went off" three times as he tried to defend himself.
Speaking to reporters from her hospital bed in Chang Mai, Reseig has rejected the Thai police account of the incident. CBC continues:
Reisig said she and Del Pinto were not fighting when they left the bar and passed an undercover officer while walking to another part of town. She said the man rushed up and hit her and that Del Pinto subsequently shoved the man.

How does Reisig explain the shooting? She notes that her face was 'painted' and believes that may have angered the policeman. According to Reisig, the policeman "rushed to a nearby motorcycle and retrieved a gun. Del Pinto and the man struggled for control of the gun before the man shot them both."

"The version of events issued by police in Pai is at total variance with Miss Reisig's story" writes Andrew Drummond in The Nation (also via Fonzi). Referring to a similar killing in Kanchanaburi of two tourists in their twenties (Vanessa Arscott and her boyfriend Adam Lloyd) Drummond concludes, "Like the Kanchanaburi case, the killing in the idyllic tourist village of Pai has the semblance of another police "loss of face" execution."

That's what I would surmise here. Fonzi warns: "This could turn into a huge international incident if the police and media continue to act like buffoons and lie and cover-up like they usually do."
Blogs: Fonzi at Thailand Jumped the Shark has more articles, commentary, and links related to this story. At Lost Boy blog, Jim Porter, who reports himself to be a life-long
friend of the deceased, has left this comment: "I am a close friend of Leo’s who travelled with him to Asia and into Pai this past year. Leo was a very gentile person, the guy wouldn’t hurt a fly. . . "

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