An off-duty police officer shot dead a French tourist in a Bangkok bar. The murder occurred when a violent bar brawl between the two men escalated into a life-and-death pursuit.
In the morning of Wednesday, December 12, Pol Capt Pasagon Ganju of Lumpini Police Station in Bangkok was notified of a shooting involving a foreigner in a nearby condominium. “We received the call at 07:20,” Pol Capt Pasagon said. “That was all the information we were given at that point.”
Pol Capt Pasagon, who serves as Deputy Inspector of Investigation at the police station, arrived on the scene ahead of a coterie of high-ranking officers: among them Pol Lt Gen Surachet “Big Joke” Hakpan, the Commissioner-General of the Immigration Bureau and the Deputy Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police Pol Gen Chaloemgiaradi Sriwonkan.
Further officers were also present, including Metropolitan Police Division 5, Pol Maj Gen Mongkon Waruno, Pol Maj Gen, Commander of Division 1, Pol Maj Gen Itipon Adchariya and several other high-ranking detectives.
Police found the body of a middle-aged man, identified as a 41-year-old French national, Djamal Kaki, on the ground in the lobby of the condominium “Trendy Office & Plaza” on 10 Sukhumvit Soi 13 in Bangkok’s Klong Tan Nuea subdistrict in the district of Watthana where the deceased and his girlfriend had been staying.
“The body was lying face-up in front of a Dunkin Donuts shop in a pool of blood, ” Pol Maj Gen Mongkon revealed. He was dressed in a black t-shirt and maroon-coloured shorts.
After a brief medical examination, police found out that Mr Kaki, who was a frequent visitor to Thailand, had been shot twice: once on the right side of his hip and once in his stomach. Two empty cartridges were found on the ground near his body. He died instantly.
Shortly after the incident, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Gandapong, who had been off-duty at the time of the murder, turned himsself in at the police station. The 49-year-old police officer confessed to the crime and was immediately stripped of his rank and arrested, Pol Lt Gen Surachet confirmed.
Upon questioning, 32-year-old Jawanjira Nutakrai, the victim’s girlfriend explained the course of events leading up to Mr Kaki’s death. She said that the two men had known each other for almost a year and that the three of them had been drinking in a bar, the Lucky Shot Food and Bar on Sukhumvit Soi 11/1.” According to her, a brawl broke out after Mr Kaki took issue with Mr Gandapong for talking to his girlfriend for too long.
Records of a nearby surveillance camera showed three men and two women in front of the bar. “The men were fighting, kicking each other with their legs and fists,” police told reporters later that day.
“CCTV footage shows that after fighting for around two minutes, Mr Gandapong fell to the ground but both were able to walk away only slightly injured at that time. Indeed, Mr Kaki can be seen walking away from the fight. Unfortunately, Mr Gandapong followed him, picking up his SIG Sauer P320SP 9×19mm Parabellum at the bar entrance: a gun which he wasn’t allowed to take into the bar.”
The two combatants disappeared from the camera’s view but eyewitnesses told police that Mr Gandapong followed Mr Kaki as he ran 350-metres to the shelter of Trendy Building where he was staying.
“Mr Kaki had already entered the building when Mr Gandapong caught up with him.” Footage of a CCTV camera> inside the lobby shows Mr Kaki walking up to the victim with his semi-automatic outstretched. Despite trying to escape his angry assailant he was shot at close range. “He was shot from less than a metre away in the chest and his hip.” Mr Kaki collapsed in front of a Dunkin Donuts shop and died within minutes, a preliminary police report stated.
“Mr Gandapong fled the scene but later surrendered at Lumpini Police Station. We interrogated him and charged him with murder.” The next day, police took him to the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court to apply for the first 12-day detention. The court denied Mr Gandapong’s request for bail.
Ominously, Mr Gandapong faced murder charges in 2012 after he shot a taxi driver whom he claimed was involved in illegal drugs. His claimed the shooting was self-defence and, as a result, continued to serve on the police force. This time CCTV and eyewitnesses make it difficult to explain away the motive for murder.
While the investigation into the alleged murder continues, Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate instructed investigators at Lumpini Police Station “to handle the case in strict accordance with the law and do nothing to help their colleague”, an article published in the Bangkok Post revealed.
Volunteers of the Ruamkatanyu Foundation took the body to Police General Hospital for an autopsy. Since the case “has damaged the country’s image, especially the police force and the tourism sector,” Pol Lt Gen Surachate took it upon himself to coordinate with the French Embassy.
Please note: As a result of requests by Mr Kaki’s family members, certain pictures have been pixelated or removed.
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- December 12, 2018: "Cop facing murder charge after French tourist shot dead" ( bangkokpost.com )