UDON THANI — A 25-year-old German man was admitted to the ICU after he was allegedly attacked by drunk teenagers in Udon Thani who wanted to imitate the brutal murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao island in September.
Police say the German man was sitting with two Thai friends near a park in Udon Thani's Muang District in the early morning of 15 November when three Thai teenagers suddenly attacked him with a garden hoe.
The man is now being treated for severe injuries in the ICU at Udon Thani Hospital. Medical workers say he suffered wounds on his face and skull that required immediate operation. According to a doctor at the hospital, there's only "50-50" percent chance that he will survive.
The attack also left one of the German's friends with a broken arm, police say.
Police have arrested three suspects, two 18-year-olds and one 17-year-old, in connection with the crime.
Pol.Col. Surin Chaichomphu, deputy commander of Udon Thani Police, announced the arrests of the two men, named Thanakorn Khusuwan and Surachet Sripolmuang, at the press conference yesterday. The third suspect, nicknamed Wuth, was not present at the press conference because he is a minor.
According to Pol.Col. Surin, both men confessed to assaulting the German man.
Thanakorn and Surachet reportedly told police that they were drinking at Wuth's house on 14 November. After they became drunk, the teenagers reportedly drove around town on a motorcycle until they came across the German man and his friends at the park. They also brought a garden hoe as "protection" in case they encountered any rival gang members, Pol.Col. Surin said.
After seeing the German and his friends, the three teenagers reportedly dared each other to imitate the murder of two British backpackers on the southern island of Koh Tao on 15 September, in which the tourists were brutally beaten to death by a garden hoe.
Wuth reportedly accepted the challenge "out of drunkenness" and proceeded to beat the German and his friends with the garden hoe he had brought from home. The other two suspects soon joined in, Pol.Col. Surin said.
"This action is a typical case of youthful recklessness," Pol.Col. Surin said at the press conference. "The three suspects are all students. But now they have ruined their future."
All three suspects have been charged with physical assault leading to grave injuries. Pol.Col. Surin said a murder charge will also be filed if the man dies from his injuries.
Pol.Lt.Col. Kachornsak Wongsaraj, a detective officer at Muang Udon Thani Police Station, told reporters that the German victim works as a language tutor for Udon Thani residents who plan to move to Germany.
The German was at the park in the early hours of 15 November because he likes to watch the sunrise, Pol.Lt.Col. Kachornsak added.