THAI POLICEMAN FINALLY CONFESSES TO MURDERING LEO DEL PINTO AFTER 5 YEARS – Thailand is far from the serene and gentle country that the Thai Government and its Tourism Authority like to portray. It is in fact highly corrupt and where violent gun crime, often perpetrated by Thai Police Officers, is six times higher than that of the United States whilst having a population less than one sixth of the United States.
In 2008 a story broke of a young couple, Leo Del Pinto and Carly Reisig, touring Thailand who were gunned down in broad daylight by a Thai police officer Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat.
The incident occurred in the town of Pia in the Northern Province of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
At the time of the murder Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat was off-duty but still carrying his firearm; a common practice in Thailand where the laws are often flouted.
According to the statement of Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat his firearm discharged accidently after he and Leo engaged in a scuffle; something that Carly Reisig feverously denies.
As a result of the incident Leo was shot once in the face and once in the chest that killed him instantly; Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat then, in what was most likely an attempt to cover up the murder, turned his gun on Carly and shot her once in the chest and then fled the scene believing both victims were dead.
On recovering from her gunshot wound Carly gave a full account of the incident and the man responsible but fellow police officers, especially Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat commanding officer, were reluctant to arrest and bring charges against him.
Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat denied the charge of murder and attempted murder when he was finally arrested. However despite the accusation of the crime the courts allowed bail; it was only a matter of days into his bail that he took a lump of wood and beat his pregnant 18 year old wife to death and then proceeded in the attempt to cover up her murder by saying she had run away. Her body was later discovered by villagers in a shallow grave.
Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat was later arrested for the murder of his wife and found guilty by a Thai court; he was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.
Despite Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat being lock up and away from members of the public this brought no relief to the Del Pinto family who continued to pressure the Thai authorities to try Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat for the murder Leo Del Pinto and attempted murder of Carly Reisig.
Finally after 5 long years of dealing with the Thai Authorities and Canadian Officials Ernie Del Pinto, Leo’s father, received an email from Foreign Affairs giving him notice that the court case was now set due to a statement on July 2 that Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat finally changed his plea from not guilty to guilty.
Mr. Del Pinto and his wife Clara are now due to leave Calgary on August 15th to attend the court hearing, official verdict and then finally the sentencing of Sgt. Uthai Dechawiwat on August 20th.
This was yet another prime example as to why tourists are now abandoning Thailand as a holiday destination.
Only recently a young man, 21 year old Stephen Ashton, was murdered as he was caught in the crossfire of two sets of Thai gangs involved in a shootout. This case, like so many before, is likely to take years to resolve as Thai Officials often see foreigners as little more than cash cows; life is cheap in Thailand and it’s even cheaper if you are a foreigner.
In this particular case it is has already been reported that the Thai man responsible for Stephen’s death is likely to face a manslaughter charge and serve no more than 2 years in prison.
Mr. Del Pinto urged young people to do their homework before traveling to another country in order to understand the culture and threats that are prevalent.
Thailand is, and will remain, a highly violent country where gun crime is rife until the authorities take serious measures to reduce it.
The murder of Leo by a police officer in Thailand is not an exceptional case; in that it is not a rarity. It is widely known that police officers are employed as hitmen and are responsible for most contract killings in Thailand.
When a tourist in a foreign country cannot trust the very people who are paid to protect them then the only solution is to abandon the country as a tourist destination until such a time positive change is implemented.
Would you visit Thailand knowing how high violent gun crime is? Please leave your comments below. If you have a story you want to tell please contact the editor.