The country’s vocational student gangs have been around for decades
The country’s vocational student gangs have been around for decades, and the violence of late knows no bounds, not even murder. Get Real gains unprecedented access to one of the capital’s most notorious collegesBANGKOK: Vocational student Kamonwich Suwanthat was interning at a multinational logistics company and was a few months away from graduation. His parents were certain his education would change the family’s fortunes.
Until then, the 24-year-old was also helping his mother to make ends meet by selling noodles at her roadside market stall on most nights. That was where, on Oct 12, a stranger shot him four times, point-blank, and fled.
The fourth-year student bled to death in front of a crowd and his mother. She did not realise it then, but his place of study was the reason he was targeted — by a school gang.
The three students arrested a month later told the police they had no personal dispute with him, and gave this statement: “He was chosen simply because he can be killed in the same way his schoolmates killed our senior.” They were from the Pathumwan Institute of Technology, located just one kilometre from the victim’s school, the Rajamangala University of Technology Tawan-ok, Uthenthawai Campus. Deadly violence between vocational students with a potentially bright future is common in Thailand. In Bangkok alone, there are years when more than 1,000 cases of brawls have been reported by mid-year.
And the rivalry that cost Kamonwich his life is a seven-decade, tit-for-tat grudge between two schools in the same neighbourhood as the MBK Centre, the giant shopping complex popular with tourists.
“Once I knew it was a school rivalry, I knew the (shooter) couldn’t be anyone else but a student from the institute nearby,” said Thai Rath TV crime journalist Nattapong Riabsantia.(herra/henri/pn)