John Denver Karaoke Sparks Thai Killing Spree
London Telegraph — A gunman in Thailand shot dead eight neighbours, including his brother-in-law, after tiring of their karaoke versions of popular songs, including John Denver's Country Roads.
Weenus Chumkamnerd, 52, put his gun to the head of a respected female doctor and seven of her guests as they partied at her home in Songkhla Province, South Thailand. "When I began shooting nobody pleaded for his life because they were all drunk," he said after his arrest. He said he was so furious with their awful singing that he did not notice he had murdered his own brother-in-law. "I warned these people about their noisy karaoke parties. I said if they carried on I would go down and shoot them. I had told them if I couldn't talk sense into them I would come back and finish them off," he added.
Mr. Chumkamnerd, who works as a rubber tapper, was arrested after going on the run after his killing spree in the town of Hat Yai, near the Malaysian border. The doctor who was hosting the party, Dr. Suthathip Thammachart, 36, was the director of a local hospital who was due this month to get an award for her services to medicine. One of the revellers survived by playing dead, convincing the gunman that he too had been killed.
When he realised he had shot his brother-in-law, Boontip Desaro, Mr. Chumkamnerd said he was filled with remorse. He got his son to take Boontip to hospital, but he was already dead.
A neighbour said that the karaoke group normally sang Thai pop and southern Thai ballads, but one particular western tune could be heard often – John Denver's 'Country Roads'. Country Roads is a hugely popular song in south east Asia and the neighbour said the revellers had been singing it over and over again.