Vandal's dad distraught
The father of a young man beaten to death for destroying the Brahma statue at the Erawan Shrine condemned the "overreaction" of the mob that lynched his son.
Sayant Phakdeephol expressed dismay that people who attacked his son Thanakorn - who had a history of mental problems - did not instead seek to have him locked up and handed over to the police.
"I want to ask them why they had to beat him to death. I see no reason why they had to go that far," he said.
He condemned the mob attack, saying: "Doing things like this is not an act of people with good belief, of those with real faith in Brahma. Murder is an immoral act and people with morality would not have done what they did."
Sayant, 51, repeated his belief that Thanakorn was mentally ill. He believed his son destroyed the revered statue simply because of his disorder. Thanakorn had received psychiatric treatment at three hospitals in the past few years for his stress disorder, he said.
The father rejected an alleged statement by government critic Sondhi Limthongkul that Thanakorn was hired by Khmer black-magic practitioners to destroy the Brahma statue in order to replace the Brahma's divine power with a dark force to support Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
"Sondhi is the biggest liar I have ever seen. How could he ever link this matter to the prime minister?" he said. His family might consider taking action against Sondhi for his statement, he said.
Saksri Klinbua and Kasemsak Karunwong, two street sweepers from Pathum Wan district, were arrested for second-degree murder for allegedly beating Thanakorn.
They have been released on bail secured by Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai.
Meanwhile, a joint meeting between the Religious Affairs Department and the Maha Brahma Foundation concluded that the new Brahma figure would be made of a mixture of gold, bronze and nine other precious metals. Fragments of the damaged statue including the face, head and weapons would be stored at the base of the shrine.
Security measures will be tightened at revered sites throughout Bangkok to prevent possible incidents.