Canadian shot dead in northern Thailand

It’s difficult to comment on the death of John Leo del Pinto, the Canadian tourist who was shot by a Thai policeman in Pai, according to reports. First, this from The Nation:

A Canadian tourist was shot dead and his wife wounded early yesterday morning near a pub in Mae Hong Son province after a scuffle with a policeman.

Pol Sgt-Major Uthai Dechawiwat claimed shots were fired accidentally after the foreign couple tried to snatch his pistol from him.

He said he had used the gun to threaten them when he was down on the ground after the couple beat him up.

Quoting witnesses, case investigator Pol Lt-Colonel Sombat Panya said the couple had been drinking in a local pub called Ting Tong. They became involved in a drunken brawl after Del Pinto, who recently arrived in Thailand, found out that Reisig had become pregnant with a Thai man known as Fuen.

The Bangkok Post had this substandard report from DPA:

A Canadian tourist was shot and killed and his wife wounded while tussling with a Thai policeman, local media reported Monday.

John Leo Del Pinto, 25, was drinking in the Ting Tong pub in Mae Hong Son, a northern province on the Burmese border, when he discovered that his Canadian wife Carly Reisig, 24, was pregnant by another man.

Witnesses claim the pair quarreled furiously early Sunday inside and later outside the pub before they were approached by police Sargent Uthai Dechawiwat who asked them to calm down, reports said.

The officer claimed the couple turned to attack him, beating him to the ground, when he requested they relax. He used his service pistol to threaten them only for Del Pinto to attempt to snatch it.

Then this came from The Nation:

Speaking from her bed in hospital in Chiang Mai, Reisig, from Chilliwack, British Columbia, rejected a police statement that suggested Sgt-Major Uthai Dechawiwat, 37, had intervened to break up a fight and his gun had discharged in a struggle.

"My face was painted with face paint, for fun, but I don't know why he hit me. We had never met him before, never seen him before. We were unarmed and walking down the road after a good night out.

"He was dressed in plain clothes, a white T-shirt. Leo shouted at him, 'You can't hit her!' and pushed him away from us. Then the man went to his motorbike and got his gun, and Leo tried to get it away from him.

"They had a struggle for the gun, then the man got control of the gun and stepped back and shot Leo directly in the face.

"I have never been married, I am not pregnant. Leo was my ex-boyfriend from Canada. He had arrived in Pai a few days before to see me."

The whole story is a mess. If there is any justice that can be done here, it will likely become buried beneath conflicting stories and spontaneous media reports. There is no clear motive for the Canadian couple to have beaten up the Thai policeman, but likewise, there’s no clear motive for him to have shot them both.

As I said, it’s difficult to comment on this one.


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17 thoughts on “Canadian shot dead in northern Thailand

  1. I knew Leo and there is no way he instigated any situation that would involve violence let alone shooting him – he was literally one of the nicest people you could ever have the pleasure of knowing….

    They should hang that bastard for robbing the world of such a good soul.

  2. I am a close friend of Leo's who travelled with him to Asia and into Pai this past year. Leo was a very gentile person, the guy wouldn't hurt a fly. I talked to him earlier this week as he was headed back to pai a place he considered to be his second home.

    LEO WAS MURDERED BY A Dirty corrupt cop, period. Everything the Thai athorities have released is a complete lie. Ive known him my whole life and the only way that guy would hurt anybody would be if someone was threatening someone he loved.

    for a country that has become rich from Western tourists they make it clear that their corrupt authorities want nothing more than to set up people from the west, just looking for the next bribe. We lost a great friend this week, I think that our governments need to make it clear to some of these places that they will not accept anything but true justice in situations like this.

    And to plain and simple get their shit together. Although this is an issolated incident they are known around the world for their treatment of tourists.

    Hopfully Leo will get the Justice he deserves

  3. Since when did Thai police intervene in anything? They are more likely to walk briskly away or pretend not to see anything.

    But the Thai process of muddying the waters has begun. The lies and obfuscation will continue until no-one knows if they are up, down or having a shit.

    Same same. With a police force like this, how can anyone keep a straight face when talking about Thais?

  4. A quick quiz, what two things disappear as evidence after sufficient time had pass:
    Answer – blood alcohol and gun powder.

    The guy is a professional policeman, there is no reason he should runaway then come back later, if act in good faith.

  5. thai polices are just a band of gangster. good at making up story, corruption, cover up, etc
    but they are very very unprofessional in doing their real job as a police.
    i am thai, i know what it is to deal with thai polices.
    no wonder their explanation is always blurred (all the time) no matter the incident happen between thai cops vs thai, or thai cops vs foriener.

    i am deeply sorry for the victim's friends and family.

  6. Thai cops are way too bad, especially to foreigners, I dont know why they just want to wipe all the foreigners away, they framed many good people and deported them back home. It happened to 2 of my friends, innocent, never commit crime. But yeah, what can i say…. ?

  7. There's an update on the saga in today's Nation. And guess what? Some thai witnesses have come forward saying it was all the Canadians' fault. My, what a surprise! Funny how their stories are identical….word for word.
    Frankly, the thais' reputation as a nation of natural liars (they call it "face saving") gives me little cause to believe anything they say. My default position in dealing with any thai on any matter is to assume they are lying. Especially where "face" or money are involved. Harsh, I know. But my experience has left me with no option.

  8. Perky, welcome to the Bedwyr approach. Rational, sensible, mature. Everything that Thais need to be but sadly cannot manage.

    Beddie the Wyr

  9. For the sake of the arqument. I am Thai by the way, thai cops are not honest (pigs),but it doesn't mean that all thai people are liars. I am living in Canada, and have family, working hard. I have been betrayed by Canadians, and I could not belive that there are so many liars here, so in every country(not only Thailand or Canada), they have good and bad. No matter what some of the comments are saying here, it should be fair for both countries, and this story happend between one idiot cop and one good soul canadian, not one good soul canadian and thai people as liars (whole country). Message to jim porter above : you don't know what you are talking about so better keep your mouth shut at all times. Thailand is not a rich country, it is still poor. You can ask anyone , and we treat tourists with honor and I do agree our cops are bad. You should to try to open your mind and not judge country because of one idiot cop. Canadians also have a problem in Mexico as well, so what do you say about that now? Stay in peace people stop the war.

  10. My wife is Thai and lives with me in Canada. She tells me Thai people mostly love Westerners and she simply does not lie so it is sad to say all Thai people are liars. Obviously there is deep corruption in the Thai Police force, and is mostly the same in any country which is generally poorer than a Western country. I know a Canadian Policeman that was sent to work with the Thai Police force and he said he was shocked how cruel the Thai Police are against their citizens, so I think we can agree, something is wrong with the Thai Police force in general but not the Thai people.

  11. You travel to these places you take your chances, stay out all night long drinking you take your chances. The same thing could happen in wonderfull safe Calgary.

  12. I have just returned from Thailand. I believe the people are some of the kindest in the world. A question I might ask is how many people travel to Thailand each year? I would imagine a great deal. The Thai police do have problems internally but so does the RCMP and how about any police force in the US? Regardless of what these two people did or did not do as a foreigner travelling to another country you take an inherent risk that something may happen to you. Whether it is a vehicular accident or a tidal wave or something in between. I returned from Thailand prior to my intended departure date to attend my step fathers funeral. He was killed while snowmobiling. It goes to show when your time is up your time is up. I would ask that the people of Thailand not be held accountable for one persons actions.

  13. I have spent some months in Thailand and I agree that Thai people are natural liars…. it's not just saving face…it's a habit developed from childhood and has some roots in the buddhist religion practice of Thailand… better to lie and avoid conflict than to tell the truth and become involved in conflict.
    Having said that and understanding it… I will say that the thai people are a generally good lot, very friendly, but don't forget that the tourist industry is a major source of the country's revenue. It's good business to treat Farang nicely and in most cases this is the treatment you will receive. The Thai are also business people. So expect them to try and extract as much money as possible from one of their major income sources…Farang.
    The most obnoxious people I ever met in Thailand are definately the farang arrogant idiots that act like the arrogant assholes they truely are inside but fear to show in their own country. I know from experience that people who would normally control themselves sweet as pie at home can get really wierd in a foreign country…. something about not being known and feeling free to become more brash and push around the small power they have in a poor country… something they dont have at home. The way some farang act in bars and public in Thailand… wow… they would get the crap kicked out of them at home.
    Of all the bullshit I've seen in my life, I've never seen it as wide, deep, and smelly as I have seen from farang in Thailand.
    Sorry about your pal…this statement does not reflect on him…I hope.

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