Pattaya police believe relationship problems drove a 47-year-old Taiwanese man to suicide. He killed himself by burning charcoal in a closed room and dying of asphyxiation.
At about 16:00 on Tuesday afternoon, a resident of the Chok Chai Garden Home in Pattaya contacted Nong Prue Provincial Police Station to report a foul smell emerging from the adjacent house. Police dispatched officers, a medical examiner and volunteers of the Sawangboriboon Foundation shortly afterwards to find out the cause of the smell.
Police arrived at house no. 22/270 inside Chok Chai Garden Home, a gated community in Chon Buri’s Nong Prue subdistrict, Bang Lamung district. “The front door of the house was locked from the inside,” Pol Lt Col Somkid Hiangsatien told reporters later that day. “We had to open it with a bolt cutter.”
An unamed officer said when they entered the one-storey house, the smell was quite unbearable. “Hundreds of flies were buzzing around our heads and the entire building was filled with a scent of rotten flesh. It was terrible!”
Police went straight to the bedroom where they found the dead body of an Asian man whom officers identified as Hsu Tzu Tsz-Hsien, a 47-year-old tourist from Taiwan. “He was lying in the middle of the bed with his face up,” Pol Lt Col Somkid described the scene. “His body was in an advanced state of decomposition. The corpse was bloated and surrounded by bodily fluids which had soaked through the mattress.”
Based on the condition of the body, a medical examiner estimated that Mr Tsz-Hsien had been dead for at least a week.
While rescue volunteers prepared the body for transportation, Pol Lt Col Somkid continued to inspect the room for clues as to the circumstances of the macabre find. “On the floor next to the bed, we found a pan and a stone stove. Both were filled with charcoal ashes. All the windows and doors had been closed which is why we are certain that Mr Tsz-Hsien had committed suicide.”
Burning charcoal> in an enclosed space is a common method of suicide because it is widely considered as easy to organise and a painless way of dying; like going to sleep. Burning charcoal produces carbon monoxide, a colourless and odourless gas. Exposure at concentrated levels will lead to unconsciousness after just a few hours due to oxygen not reaching vital organs and contunued exposure will eventually lead to death.
Police also found a piece of paper with a short note written in English, saying “I am sorry. Moto give owner”. Officers bagged the letter as evidence along with other personal items of Mr Tsz-Hsien for further investigation.
Until recently, Mr Tsz-Hsien had been living in the rented house with another man from Taiwan, the female neighbour who had called the police earlier told Pol Lt Col Somkid. “She said that she was not sure whether the two men were in a relationship or just shared the house. Nevertheless, about two weeks ago, Mr Tsz-Hsien’s friend was seen moving out of the house. From then on, none of the neighbours saw Mr Tsz-Hsien again.”
Police believe that Mr Tsz-Hsien was so depressed about the breakup that he did not see any way out of his despair which drove him to take his life.
Rescue volunteers sent the body to a nearby hospital where an autopsy will determine the official cause of death. The Taiwanese embassy has been informed of Mr Tsz-Hsien’s death and is contacting his relatives to arrange the repatriation of his remains.
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