S'porean businessman shot 20 times in air gun attack in Thailand
A Singaporean businessman was shot about 20 times in Thailand by five attackers armed with air guns.
The man, Liang, 47, told Shin Min Daily News that he was also hit on the head with a wine bottle, and his wife and child were taken from him. The attack occurred on March 8, 2022 at the family’s villa in Mae Sot, a city in western Thailand that shares a border with Myanmar.
Liang said he went to Thailand in 2018 to sell health care products. He met his wife there and invested nearly S$200,000 for her to run a grocery store business.
His wife later introduced him to a man, Chairat Setthiwanit, 29, to discuss buying and selling cars, but it did not work out.
When the pandemic struck, Liang was unable to fly to Thailand. He began to notice that his wife and Chairat were interacting frequently.
Liang became increasingly suspicious of their relationship and decided to fly to Thailand in September 2021. He arranged for someone to pick up his wife and child from Mae Sot and move to Bangkok.
He said he issued an ultimatum to his wife - him or Chairat. His wife chose him and claimed that Chairat was a local gangster she was forced to get close to.
The family of three returned to Mae Sot and lived peacefully for several months.
But on the night of March 8, 2022, Chairat, his younger brother, Chajita, 22, and three other men climbed over the wall of Liang's residence. The intruders went around to the master bedroom near the swimming pool and kicked open the wooden door.
When they rushed inside, Chairat and Chajita shot Liang with a handheld air gun and an air rifle respectively, while the other three men punched and kicked the Singaporean man.
Liang was also hit over the head with a red wine bottle.
Meanwhile, his wife knelt down and begged Chairat to spare her husband's life. Chairat then ordered Liang’s wife and child to leave with him, leaving Liang alone.
Liang was covered in blood but conscious. He contacted his friends, who took him to the police and the hospital.
The businessman suffered a serious head injury, which required 36 stitches.
He was found to have sustained more than 20 gunshot wounds on his body, two of which were near his left ribs, one on the left chest, and the remaining 17 on his back. The wounds were about 0.5cm in size, and he also had a bruise on his left eye.
Liang said: "Fortunately, I was wearing a towel, otherwise the wounds would have been deeper."
The case was heard in the Mae Sot court in February 2023. Court documents said Liang was unable to go about his normal life for more than 20 days after the assault.
He suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and recurring nightmares, according to medical reports.
Chairat maintained his innocence even though he was charged with causing serious injury to others, threatening others and damaging property.
Both he and his younger brother were sentenced in September 2023 to one year’s jail and ordered to pay more than 318,000 baht (S$11,997) in compensation.
Liang said he was dissatisfied with the court's ruling as he felt it was too lenient. After all, the wound on his left chest could potentially have been fatal if it was any deeper, he said. He has filed an appeal, which he said would take two months to be heard.
The businessman found out later that Chairat is part of a local triad in Thailand and even tried to implicate him in a crime.
He said Chairat forced his wife to file a false police report in Thailand against him. In the report, she claimed that Liang had impersonated her on Facebook, which led to police questioning him.
It is not known what has happened to Liang's wife and child.