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Pattaya Daily News

15 June 2009 :: 17:06:28 pm 8998

Pattaya Father And Daughter Burnt Out Of Home

A virtually impoverished father and daughter, living in a squalid shack in a Pattaya cemetery, returned from visiting a movie to find their humble abode burnt to the ground, on 14 June, 2009, leaving them with only the clothes they stood up in. The father told PDN reporters that he suspected a developer, who wanted the land that his shack stood on, had set it ablaze to force them out.
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The dire circumstances of the father, Thongplaew Chompu (37) and his daughter, Sarocha, 13, first came to light in November 2007, when it was discovered by school authorities and Pattaya City Council that she and her unemployed father were living in decidedly substandard conditions in a shack in Chong Lom Cemetery.

The desperate living conditions of the two only came to light following the questioning of the girl, then aged 11, who had appeared extremely depressed. It was discovered that they had been living in the shack for the past eleven years and that her father, who lived only by collecting rubbish, had not eaten for several days. Following the discovery, concerned authorities established a fund to ensure the girl received the statutory nine years of education and a bank account was also set up for their support. Since the story first broke, over Bt200,000 has been put into the account by concerned members of the public.

Thongplaew Chompu continued his account of the circumstances of his return to the shack on the evening of 14 June. He told reporters that he had found Mr. Sampan Ying Samut, [42] and a few other neighbours trying to douse the fire, but the intensity of the blaze, which apparently had been started with petrol, prevented them from being able to extinguish it or salvage anything.

Mr. Thongplaew said he and his daughter had received a great deal of financial help from generous members of the public since 2007, when their story had been published. People had contributed over Bt200,000 to the account , which had been set up in the daughter’s name, and a teacher at her school has been supervising the account for them. Mr. Thongplaew said they [ the father and the daughter] had withdrawn money from the account about 8 times, Bt5000 each time. He also said that they didn’t know exactly how much money people had put into the account.

He told PDN reporters that he had been told to move out of the shack twice on the morning of 14 June, but he did not know where to move to. His hut was set on fire at around 8.00 pm. One of the Good Samaritans , Mr. Sampan Ying Samut, a Pattaya city driver, said he was passing the location and had seen the hut on fire. Unfortunately, all he could lay his hands on was a bucket, which was insufficient to put out the fire.

Mr. Thongplaew told reporters that he assumed the fire must have been started by a developer or investor who wanted him and his daughter to move out. In addition, he said that he had heard a rumour that teachers from his daughter’s school had somehow got the impression that he or his daughter might have set the shack ablaze themselves to get attention and sympathy from the public; an allegation he denied, saying he was sad to hear such a thing.

Reporter : Nattaphummint   Photo : Nattaphummint   Category : Crime News

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