Canadian Carly Reisig, who witnessed her best friend being shot to
death by a Thai policeman before being shot herself, last night defended
herself from reports that she had been a 'troublemaker' in the murder
But she admitted that she had been involved in heated rows in the
past in the picturesque hill tribe village of Pai near the Burma border -
and had herself struck a Thai policeman.
Reisig, 24, from Chilliwack, British Columbia, who has stars tattooed
in her left eyelid, said that two months prior to the arrival of one
time boyfriend Leo del Pinto, also 24, from Calgary, she had intervened
after a scuffle broke out in a bar involving an Israeli tourist and a
former Thai boyfriend called 'Nui'.
'The Israeli guy hit my Thai boyfriend and I tried to break it up but
I couldn't. Then the police came and took them outside and they circled
around Nui and were pushing him, so I got involved.
'I went in there and hit one of the cops. I was very drunk that
night. The cops took us both to the police station and made us give
urine samples. The test came out clear and they let us both go.'
On another occasion she said she was involved in a fight at a regular
party at a nearby arts market called Pittalew with her current
boyfriend Rattaporn Varawadee nicknamed Fuen.
'We had our first fight. We were sitting on the bench together, and
then I started crying and walked off. I was walking around crying but
neither of us touched anyone else.'
Ms Reisig adamantly stuck to her claim that Police Sergeant Major
Uthai Dechawiwat was the one who struck the first blow outside P.Daeng's
Restaurant early last Sunday morning as she was walking from the Be-Bop
bar in Pai to the Bamboo Bar. She said she was 'not a troublemaker'.
Right: Street scene in Pai today. Adapted from old Thai expression
'Things are a bit foggy. I can't quite remember .Leo and I were
always messing around and play fighting noisily. We might have even been
yelling at each other, play-fighting - but not in anger, it was just
our way of kidding around, having fun. We never fought in anger. But
even if we were fighting, we weren't hurting anybody else. It didn't
give anyone the right to shoot us.
'I don't feel at all responsible for the shooting. The guy who did this was crazy.'
Last night as the sunset on Pai, a former by-water which has been
taken over in the last 3 years by a massive backpacker invasion, two
Thai witnesses said they insisted it was Carly not the policeman who
started the fight.
Kanasphuchit Sankam, the owner of a karaoke bar who was eating at the
noodles at the time said: 'I watched the couple come up, punching each
other and yelling.
'It didn't look like they were pretending, it looked like a real
fight, they were shouting loudly and punching each other, but I don't
know what the fight was about.
Left: P.Dang's Restaurant
'They even knocked over one of the motorbikes that was parked on the bridge. I watched Uthai go over to try and stop the fight.
He said 'Stop, I am police' and held out his hand in front of him,
with his other hand ready to draw his gun. They pushed him over and he
got his gun out.
'The girl started crying loudly and he told her to calm down and go
and sit down. The policeman then started walking away from the scene,
but the girl got up and hit him.
'Leo then joined her in hitting him and they all fell onto the
ground. I couldn't see them anymore because of the parked cars, but I
then heard three shots go off. If the girl had not provoked him, nothing
would have happened.'
A similar story in almost identical words was told by Saijai Gawin
the owner of the noodle shop. However witnesses also stated that Leo's
killer was also 'drunk' in the BeBop bar in Pai - where Carly and Leo
had been drinking earlier.
The Thai police investigator Lt-Colonel Sombat Panya has already
given a reason for the couple fighting. He said Leo Del Pinto, who
recently arrived in Thailand, was angry when he found out that Reisig
had become pregnant with a Thai man known as Fuen.
Associated Press has quoted Sombat Panya as saying that the foetus 'was unharmed'. Ms Reisig denies being pregnant.
As in the case of British backpackers Vanessa Arscott,23, and Adam
Lloyd who were gunned down by a Thai policeman in Kanchanaburi by the
River Kwai in Thailand in 2004 it seems unlikely that Ms Reisig will be
able to produce any witnesses in Thailand to prove her side of the
Her current Thai boyfriend, while claiming the shootings had no
justification, is reluctant to say any more. Ms Reisig, say some
foreign residents, was looked down upon by some of the local Thais.
But the policeman himself was reported by several sources to have been drinking off duty in the BeBop bar on the tragic night.
Four years ago in Kanchanaburi, western Thailand, Briton Adam Lloyd
was gunned down by Police Sergeant Somchai Wisetsingh and then got into
his Volvo car and ran down Vanessa dragging her body under the car along
the riverside road.
He then got out and as she clung to an electric pylon shot her in the head, neck and chest.
In the ensuing furor stories were put out that Vanessa had slept with
Wisetsingh and had returned to the town to see him again and Adam had
There were several witnesses to the shooting. They would not go to
court but were able to tell the victim's parents exactly what happened.
Each one said they were scared to give evidence against the local
In the case of the death of John Leo del Pinto it seems the only
reliable evidence may be forensic, and hope of a satisfactory and
transparent conclusion for the young man's family may be down to close
monitoring of the case by the media, Canadian government and lawyers.
The grouping of the shots is vital. But there already appears to be
an answer as to why the gun fired. 'Police told me that their guns do
not have safety catches,' a local reporter said last night.
Pai Police Station