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American hacked to death over Bt51

A taxi driver hacked an American passenger to death with a machete on Saturday evening, after the man refused to pay a Bt51 fare and threw a coffee in his face. The suspect was later arrested and confessed to the crime.

Cherdchai Utmacha, 32, initially fled the scene at Soi Sukhumvit 85, after he attacked Troy Lee Pilkington, 51, on Saturday evening using a machete with a 16-inch blade taken from the boot of his taxi. The American had allegedly refused to pay the fee and walked away, believing he had been cheated.

Police arrested Cherdchai yesterday morning after staking out his apartment on Soi Chalerm Phra Kiat 46 in Bangkok's Prawet district. Cherdchai was arrested and charged with murder and carrying a deadly weapon.

Quoting eyewitnesses, police said both men had scuffled after Pilkington threw the coffee in his paper cup at Cherdchai through the passenger side door window. Cherdchai had been yelling at the man to pay up. The suspect told police later that he took the long knife from the boot and confronted the American, but the victim attacked first.

The victim, a senior official at Caterpillar Thailand, sustained one deep cut to his head, one stab wound to the left side of his chest and two cuts to his left wrist. Paramedics later pronounced him dead at the scene.

Quoting the suspect, police said the taxi had been stuck in traffic near Sukhumvit 68, when Pilkington spotted that the taxi's meter was already showing a fare of Bt51.

The passenger accused him of rigging the meter and got out. Cherdchai said he was enraged and grabbed the machete, only with the intent to threaten him.

He said he later threw the knife into a canal in Samut Prakan's Bang Phli district and then threw his shirt away on Soi Kanchanapisek 45 as it was covered in blood stains.

Police gave no details as to whether they had retrieved the items for evidence.


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