NONTHABURI — A former deputy police chief with a checkered past and enthusiasm for “rough justice” committed suicide Sunday by leaping from the seventh floor of a mall in northern metro Bangkok.
Gen. Salang Bunnag, 80, died on the scene today at Central Chaeng Wattana, reportedly leaving a handwritten suicide note urging his family to spread his appeal for Thailand to construct an “Autobahn.”
In the hand-written note, Salang is said to have written that he only had two more years to live and wanted to leave this world by doing something good.
Besides urging people who read the note through the media to support construction of an autobahn-style highway, Salang also urged people to oppose the construction of additional rail lines, specifically a one-meter wide dual track and elevated electric trains.
“Don’t blame me. Please be proud. If I don’t take the step, no one would know because the media are working to cover it up,” part of the letter read.
A video clip shows Salang struggle to climb over a railing before toppling over. No one else was around him at the time.
The late former deputy chief also specified details of his funeral arrangement which included reproducing his suicide note for dissemination to the public. He asked his children and grandchildren to be good.
Salang, a member of the powerful Bunnag clan, is best known for enthusiastically leading police onto the campus of Thammasat University in 1976 where, with paramilitary forces, they killed dozens of students.
Twenty years after the Thammasat Massacre, he was investigated in the late 1990s for leading cops to gun down six drug dealers, an operation that became known as the “Suphan Buri Massacre.” He was deputy police commissioner at the time.
The case became a test of Thailand’s newfound commitment to embracing justice and the rule of law.
He refused to show up for the first hearing in the murder case, according to a Human Rights Watch report from 1999.
Additional reporting Todd Ruiz