Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Thai Cop Accused of Murdering British Couple Still on the Run

The Thai policeman who reportedly shot and killed 2 British tourists in Kanchanaburi is still on the run. Himself an experienced investigator, he is obviously knowledgeable about procedures for searching for suspects and thus may be able to elude capture longer than the average person.

The prevailing wisdom in the press and echoed by Thai politicians is that it is urgent that the suspect is found as soon as possible. Not because of the senseless brutality of his crime, though that is mentioned, but mainly because the case could further tarnish the image of Thailand abroad. Thai authorties now predict they will capture him within days.

Other details regarding the incident are coming out which could possibly only be speculation but at the same time, if true, would seem to make more sense than what was initially reported.

The original reports tended to suggest that the British couple had just met the man who eventually killed them. This was reported along with the fact that the young British man, Adam Lloyd, became angry that people were staring at his girlfriend, Vanessa Arscott.

The claim that the two Brits had only met the policeman on the night in question doesn't seem to jibe with the degree of the anger involved in the apparent 3-way argument that took place at the restaurant where the quarrel was said to have begun. Also, a certain amount of trust must have existed for the 2 young tourists to get into the same car as the Thai copper (though other contrasting accounts say that they never got into the car). It seems unlikely that this would have happened had they just met him.

More intriguing is the suggestion that the young British woman had been having an affair with the Thai policeman. The supposed problem that is being mentioned with this story line is the fact that they had reportedly only been in Kanchanaburi for 7 days.

This doesn't seem like a convincing argument as to why this couldn't have happened, though of course no real evidence supports it as being true either. When people envision two young tourists trekking around the world, coupled with the sympathy and sadness that their final night naturally engenders, people may have a tendency to simplify the relationship that may have existed between the two dead Brits.

Let's look at the events leading up to the tragic night and a possible scenario that could have played out.

Lloyd and Arscott had been travelling together for the past 2 months. Although ostensibly it sounds like an idyllic and lovely experience for a young couple in love, the reality is often much different. Travelling together for an extended period can be a stressful experience, exaggerating minor differences and bringing repressed grievances to the fore. When there are a myriad of social opportunities where young people are mixing together involving conscious and often contrived attempts at hedonistic displays, insecurities and jealousies can easily get out of hand.

If Lloyd was a jealous boyfriend, perhaps in those previous 2 months, like so many insecure individuals before him, he had sought to allay those concerns by cheating on his girlfriend. A drunken fling with a young female traveler after a spat with his girlfriend, or maybe simply becoming overly friendly with the wide range of interesting and attractive women a person meets when travelling.

Upon landing in Kanchanaburi and after a series of blow-ups and accusations regarding infidelity, perhaps she headed out alone one night convinced that finally their relationship was on the rocks. There was the added stress of knowing that their trip was almost over. The events of their time on the road together meant things wouldn't be the same on their return to the real world, and she decided to take a small bit of revenge with her own meaningless fling.

She could imagine the future memory she might one-day hold of spending the night with a Thai policeman, a unique experience from what had degenerated into an otherwise negative end to her extended vacation. Maybe there was a bit of arrogant disdain for the belief that young female tourists can't enjoy the same uninhibited sense of release at becoming involved with the local men the way the lads enjoy the company of beautiful foreign women when travelling.

Maybe Arscott was the jealous one. Maybe she initiated the fling (if there was one) based solely out of lust. Somchai (the Thai policeman) would have eventually had the sense that he had been played for a dupe and perhaps in that short time became more enamoured with her than she could have anticipated.

The one sickly image that resonates throughout this whole tragedy is that of Arscott being ploughed into at top speed and then being dragged by the car for up to 100 yards. Then, like a wounded animal, chunks of her flesh stuck to the car, having a few slugs pumped into her by Somchai before he fled on foot.

The truth, if it ever fully comes out regarding dramas like this, is always more complex and nuanced that any speculation could be. Unfortunately for the families of the dead couple, this has all the elements that makes for an almost insatiable interest from the public; sex, murder, the mystery of a foreign country and those tangible and real aspects of a personal relationship that most people can identify with.

Cross=posted at; Flogging the Simian

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