Who would ever think that killing 55 people would lead to a drinking problem?
'What sort of person leans over a sub-machine gun bolted to the floor, takes aim at a target on a white curtain in front of a condemned man strapped to a cross, and then pumps 10 to 15 bullets into his back?'
Boozing altruist a 'Kindly Killer' [actual headline]
6/05/2012 at 02:58 AM
Chaovaret Jaruboon, who died recently, took the lives of 55 men during his career as an executioner but had a gentle demeanour that belied his grisly job
What sort of person leans over a sub-machine gun bolted to the floor, takes aim at a target on a white curtain in front of a condemned man strapped to a cross, and then pumps 10 to 15 bullets into his back?
A family man, a rock musician, an altruist, a boozer and a civil servant in the Corrections Department for three decades.
In short: a man of wild contradictions and divided loyalties.
Chaovaret Jaruboon, who made his mark as Thailand's last executioner, succumbed to cancer on Monday aged 64, leaving behind a wife in her 40s, three grown children and the bloodstained legacy of executing 55 inmates over almost two decades at Bang Kwang Central Prison on the edge of Bangkok.
His cremation will begin at 4pm today at the royal temple of Wat Bang Thai in Nonthaburi.
Even as a boy, crime and vice were in his peripheral vision. Chaovaret grew up in the Bangkok neighbourhood of Sri Yan, the family's middle-class dwelling sandwiched between the mansions of magistrates and the hovels of harlots.
On his way to school every morning, he had to walk past a brothel that doubled as an opium den, where the dregs and fumes of last night's debauch mingled.
His father was Buddhist, his mother Muslim, and the Saint Joan of Arc School he attended was Catholic. Much later in life, he would boast that he had never visited a bordello, never taken drugs and only committed one crime in his life: stealing a pack of greetings cards from another student back in Grade 4.
As staunch a moralist as he could be, defending capital punishment until his dying day, he also had a raucously rebellious streak that he vented by playing guitar in rock 'n'roll bands that toured the GI bases in the '60s. For him, taking a job as a prison guard served the dual purpose of supporting his family while working towards that final parole for all working stiffs: retirement with a pension.
Chaovaret always said that the worst job on the execution team was not pulling the trigger; it was having to walk into the death row cell to read out the final decision of the court to the condemned man before whisking him off to a final meal and blessing from a Buddhist monk.
En route to the ''room to end all suffering'' (as the death chamber is referred to in Thai), Chaovaret said, ''I heard it all _ crying, begging and cursing me.
''But some of them just walked in without a word. They were ready to die.''
Chaovaret defused some dangerously combustible situations on death row. In his 2006 autobiography The Last Executioner, he remembered dealing with a serial rapist, convicted of raping and murdering a 10-year-old girl. When the condemned man was screaming at guards and still protesting his innocence, Chaovaret told him: ''Just think of it as bad karma coming back to you for what you have done. If you are positive when you go, you will end up in a better place, so empty your mind of anger and negativity.''
The contrite rapist wrote a letter to his father repeating the inescapable Buddhist cycle of life: birth, ageing, suffering and death.
Boozing altruist a 'Kindly Killer' | Bangkok Post: news