Much-revered Phra Prom statue destroyed
A man described to be mentally-deranged hammered the much-revered statue of Pra Prom or Brahma creator god at the Hyatt Erawan Hotel and reduced it into pieces before he was killed by bystanders.
A garland vendor said she saw the man standing up on the base of the statue and hammered away the statue into pieces.
Only the part of lap and base of the statue were left intact. Its head was broken and fell off to the ground. Officials put up white cloth to hide the statue.
The man, who was later identified as Thanakorn Pakdeepol, 27, was assaulted by people near the scene and died about 50 metres away from the Pra Prom shrine.
The garland vendor, Wandee Wichai, 42, said she saw the man hammering the statue at 1 am and she shouted for help.
"I've been selling garlands here for 30 years but I've never seen this man. He appeared like a mad man while hammering Pra Prom," Wandee said.
The man fled but was later caught up by some taxi drivers and people started to beat him up.
Pol Maj Gen Krissasda Phankhongchuen, deputy metropolitan police commissioner, said the man, who suffered severe injuries on his head, was barely alive when police arrived at the scene, which was on the opposite side of road from the Police Hospital.
He said police later arrested two garbage collectors and found an iron bar which one of them used to beat the man.
His father, Sayan Pakdeepol, told police at the Lumpini Police station that his son had been suffering from depression since he was conscripted into military service when he was 21 years old.
Sayan said he talked to his son at about 8 pm and he left home, which was in the same neighbourhood with the shrine, at midnight. The father said he had not heard from his son after learning that he was killed.
"My son arrived home at 8 pm and went to bed. I went upstairs to his room to give him cold drug but he appeared angry and threatened to harm people in the house," Sayan said.
"He left the house ad midnight and I don't know where he was so I called 191 police to inform them for fear that he would assault other people."
Although Brahama statue belongs to a Hindi god it is much revered by Thai Buddhists and Buddhists from other Asian countries who flocked to the statue to pay respect and ask for blessing.
Foreign tourists also like to visit the shrine to see traditional dancers, who were hired by those had seen their wishes come true, perform.