A debt-ridden businessman is suspected of killing his wife and daughter and setting fire to his house before attempting suicide, police said yesterday.
The family tragedy took place about 2am yesterday at a two-storey house in Bangkok's Chom Thong district. The house was on fire when police arrived.
It took firefighters 15 minutes to bring the blaze under control. Police found a man, identified later as Chartchai Khongrattanasomboon, unconscious in his bedroom on the second floor.
Two bodies were found nearby. The victims, who had been poisoned, were identified as Mr Chartchai's wife Monruedee Thasee, 53, and their daughter Chadeekarn, 12.
Police said Mr Chartchai was formerly a contractor and now sells clothes at a shopping mall in Samut Prakan. Both his businesses amassed huge debts.
A court order asking his family to leave the house by May 30 was found placed at the door.
Pol Lt-Col Chaiwat Changsalak said he suspected Mr Chartchai, who also suffered heart disease and high blood pressure, had poisoned his wife and daughter before trying to take his own life to escape debt and health problems.
The man could be charged with murder and arson, he said.The case follows a recent survey by the Mental Health Department, which found the suicide rate is rising in Thailand, particularly in major cities.
Department chief Somchai Chakrabhandu said the number of people taking their own life has increased from 5.7 per 100,000 people last year to 6.5 this year.
Economic and political instability is the main factor leading to depression and suicide, he said. The number of people committing suicide in the country was at its peak of 8.6 per 100,000 during the economic crisis in 1999.
''Company workers depending on monthly salaries tend to be affected most by economic and political crises,'' Dr Somchai said. ''Some people's income cannot meet their cost of living and they become desperate, with the situation eventually pushing them to suicide.''
The department's latest survey, of 2,400 respondents aged between 21 and 40 in 21 provinces including Bangkok, showed over half of them suffered from depression due to financial and work problems. Young people in the 21 to 30 age group were most likely to suffer from mental problems, and women tended to be affected more than men.
According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
Dr Somchai advised people suffering from depression to seek counselling from mental health experts. Employers could also help ease their employees' worries by adjusting salaries to help them better cope with the rising cost of living.
However, Trakarn Chensri, director of the Samaritans of Thailand, a non-profit counselling group, said financial problems were still a minor factor in Thais attempting suicide compared to relationship and sexual problems.
Bangkok Post : General news
Two in one day, I find it quite shocking. The narrator and the businessman who did his whole family and didnt do himself well enough. Damn.
Too long in Exile, too long not singing my song.
Too long like a rolling stone, Too long in exile
Too long in Exile, baby you just arent my friend.
Too long in Exile my friend, Baby you can never go home again.