Lopburi Robber Who Killed 3 Gets Death Sentence

Prasittichai Khaokaew at the Criminal Court on Aug. 27, 2020.
Prasittichai Khaokaew at the Criminal Court on Aug. 27, 2020.

BANGKOK — A former school director who killed three people during a goldsmith heist earlier this year was sentenced to die by the Criminal Court on Thursday.

Prasittichai Khaokaew, 38, was found guilty of shooting seven people on Jan. 9 at a gold shop inside Robinson Department Store in Lopburi before fleeing with necklaces, worth over 600,000 baht. The fatalities include a 2-year-old toddler.

Although the defendant confessed his crimes, the court said the sentence was not reduced because his use of gun silencer suggested that it was a premeditated criminal act.

His violent behavior also posed a danger to society and he did not surrender himself to police after the killing, the court said.

The court handed the death sentence to Prasittichai and fined 1,000 baht. He was also ordered to pay compensations to all of the victims.

It was yet unclear whether the defendant would appeal. Under the law, executions can only take place after an appeal is heard by the Supreme Court. Capital punishment in Thailand is uncommon and it was last carried out in 2018, when a 26-year-old man was executed by lethal injection for aggravated murder.

The former director of a primary school in Singburi province was described by his colleagues as a “friendly person,” though they acknowledged that he is a gun enthusiast who owns several firearms.

In the trial, he confessed to firing a handgun to clear the way and that it was a stray bullet that struck the 2-year-old toddler.

The murders shocked Thailand, where in spite of its frequent firearm incidents, deliberate shootings that killed civilians in public places were rare.

The heist was followed by a greater tragedy in February, when a disgruntled soldier went on a shooting spree in Korat that killed 30 people.