On a fateful Friday night in Surat Thani, a serene evening was disrupted by a violent gunfight that left two men dead and two women injured. The incident took place at the car park of Bunjongburi Hotel on Liang Muang Road in tambon Makham Tia. The air of celebration after a wedding party quickly turned to dread when gunshots echoed in the parking lot.
The victims were identified as Panuphong Suwannasin, 35, a well-known amulet expert, and Wirat Sudphakdee, 39, a pub owner. The injured women were Kansiri Suwannasin, wife of the amulet expert, and Thanaithorn Luetheng. The crime scene was littered with spent bullets, a pistol, and the lifeless bodies of the two men, cruelly marked with multiple gunshot wounds.
Panuphong, also known as “Khunphaen Surat,” hailed from Surat Thani’s Tha Chang district, where he had gained prominence and respect as an amulet expert. He had been shot in multiple parts of his body, a pistol found near his hand. On the other hand, Wirat, who went by the name “Jane Thonglor,” was the owner of Thonglor, a well-liked pub in Muang district. His body also bore the gruesome wounds of the gunfight.
According to the police investigation, the four victims were attending a joyous wedding party at a building behind the hotel. Panuphong and Wirat, once friends, had engaged in a conflict that spanned more than two years. The wedding party provided the opportunity for the two men to speak, which led to the ill-fated confrontation. Tragically, a conversation meant to rekindle a friendship ended in a deadly exchange of gunfire.
Intriguingly, the story of the amulet expert and his wife takes a dark turn, as they had been arrested in Bangkok by the Crime Suppression Division on May 15, 2021, on drug charges. The couple served their time in prison but resumed their business activities upon release. Panuphong continued in the amulet trade and attracted a significant following on social media, amassing over 100,000 followers on his Facebook page.
The violent encounter in Surat Thani is a stark reminder of how quickly joy can turn to tragedy, and how old grudges can escalate into fatal consequences. The memory of the festive wedding party will forever be marred by the grim scene of a gunfight that unfolded just moments later in the car park, claiming the lives of two men and injuring two innocent women.
As the investigation unfolds, one can only hope that justice will be served for the victims of this tragic incident. In the meantime, the families and friends of those involved are left to grapple with the devastating effects of a night that began with heartwarming celebrations and ended in a brutal firefight.