Wednesday, February 15, 2006

the Thai stare; 5 Thai food vendors convicted of manslaughter in Malaysia

Aggressive staring is an annoying personality trait common to Thais. Having been the recipient on numerous occasions, I can tell you it is on a level of obnoxiousness that would quickly provoke a physical confrontation in the West.

Another Thai trait is a propensity to group violence over the most minor affront to "face," especially when they feel their simpleminded nationalism has been impugned.

This mix of provocation and violence usually works well against non-Thais in Thailand, and apparently these 5 Thai 'laborers' thought it could be exported to Malaysia as well -- justifying their group attack with sticks and chains against an upperclass Malaysian citizen. Oops, I guess not.

Murder convictions all around and the subsequent imposition of the death penalty would have been too hot to handle, politically, but good to see they were forced to plead guilty to manslaughter and will now be pulling a long stint in a Malaysian prison with nary a friendly face in sight. I sincerely hope they do not survive it.

Five Thais plead guilty to killing law student

KUALA LUMPUR: The five Thai foodstall workers who were originally charged with the murder of law student Darren Kang Tien Hua have pleaded guilty to an alternative charge of manslaughter.

This would reduce the punishment from a death penalty to a maximum 10-year jail term or fine or both for the five.

Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor B. Sarala Pillai told the High Court here yesterday that the prosecution had agreed to the reduced charge following a representation filed by the defence.

When the new charge was read to Sulkifli Muso, 20, Wae Yusoh Wae Salae, 25, Abdunloh Maming, 21, Abdul Torleh Yama and Masukri Che Mae, both 24, they all pleaded guilty.

A quarrel ensued between Kang and several patrons of Warung Uncle Don.

This led to some shoving and an exchange of punches.

Kang was said to have scolded the patrons for staring at him.

The five accused attacked Kang who, in his attempt to defend himself, retaliated with kicks.

Kang, a Sheffield University student, was then said to have gone to a nearby club for help and returned with three of his friends, which resulted in another brawl.

Kang was said to have collapsed on the road after being punched, kicked and assaulted with sticks and chairs.

He was taken to University Malaya Medical Centre where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Counsel Hazman Ahmad and Mohamad Fozi Zain asked the court to fix a date for mitigation, saying they were unprepared as they had only found out about the outcome of their representation on Monday evening.

Justice Mohtarudin fixed today to hear the mitigation.

The Star/Asia News Network