(5 September) As police are hunting for the individuals who shot and wounded a famous football referee, his
controversial profile is brought back under the media spotlight.
Mr. Tanorm Borikut, 40, was
shot by assailants on motorcycle as he left the residential building in Rajamangala Stadium in the
early morning of 4 September, according to witnesses. He was reportedly on his way to an exercise
session, as he was scheduled to oversee an upcoming Thai League match.
Police said Mr. Tanorm,
nicknamed ?Pao Norm?, was shot twice in his ribcage and once in his arm. He remains in the ICU; his
condition is described as severe.
A senior police officer expressed his belief that, in spite
of the severe injury, the assailants did not appear to have the intention to kill Mr. Tanorm since
they had the time to deal a deadly blow to the referee as he was down on the ground but did not do
Meanwhile, investigators are struggling to find a lead into the case. The detectives are
checking the CCTV footage and establishing a possible motive for the attack – a daunting task
considering Mr. Tanorm′s history.
A referee with a long experience in the field, Mr. Tanorm
is a well-known figure in his trade. His nickname, Pao Norm, is a play on the names of Mr. Tanorm
and Justice Pao, a historical Chinese judge known for his sharp judgement.
However, while Justice Pao is universally praised by the Chinese as an incorruptible judge, Mr. Tanorm′s reputation in the
field is somewhat more dubious.
He has been criticised for his alleged bias which favours the
more powerful football teams when they play against the smaller ones. Some Thai football clubs have even
boycotted any game refereed by Mr. Tanorm.
The referee also made the headlines in August when
he dispatched a number of guards to bar observers from entering the meeting room in which debate
over enforcement of the FIFA constitution in Thai football leagues would be
A scuffle between the guards and incensed members and staff of some football teams
soon broke out, before the officials eventually let the observers into the meeting room.
most notorious incident surrounding Mr. Tanorm is perhaps his alleged link to the bombing of the
Municipality Office building in Saraburi Province on 6 November 2009 in which a high-ranking
official was killed.
Mr. Tanorm was arrested after the police uncovered evidence of the
conflict between him and some officials, but the courts later acquitted him of any charge.
Nevertheless, many still suspect him of having some role in the bombing.
To complicate the
matter even further, reports suggest that the shooting might have resulted from Mr. Tanorm′s connection
with underground football gambling trade, and some police officers said they had not ruled out a
love-triangle motive either.
His wife, Ms. Paiwan Borikut, is convinced her husband is
targeted because of his roles as a referee in the games.
I don?t think his job is safe
anymore, Ms. Paiwan said, I want him to quit.