Phuket Gazette

TRAT: A quarry worker and his wife were blown up after the man apparently detonated a quantity of C-4 plastic explosive during a domestic dispute on November 19. The blast, heard for up to 50km away, had villagers fearfing an invasion by the Cambodian army.

Police and rescue workers found the house of Phen Buntham, 42, and his wife Saijai Buntham completely destroyed by the blast. The bodies of the pair had been thrown in different directions by the force of the explosion.

Mr Phen’s brother-in-law Samphan Bunkhong said Mr Phen was the head of the explosives team at the quarry where they both worked in Bor Rai District. Every day, Mr Phen checked out around 50 bars of C-4 from the explosives depot. If any were unused at the end of the day, he was supposed to return them to the depot.

Mr Phen must have taken some of the explosives home that day, Mr Samphan said.

He believed Mr Phen must have detonated the explosives himself, as they are hard to detonate without using an electric fuse. As Mr Phen and his wife were known to engage in fierce fighting, Mr Phen could have detonated the blasts in the heat of an argument, Mr Samphan speculated.

Mrs Saijai’s younger sister Panchan Phromma said the couple had been arguing constantly in the days before the blast, though the fights had never turned physical. Mrs Panchan said she also believed the pair had likely died following a heated domestic dispute.

Inspector Seri Somphaibun from Bor Rai police declined to comment on the details of the case pending receipt of a report from Border Patrol Police explosives experts.

He would question the quarry owner to ensure that precautions to control explosives were adequate, he added.

Villagers in neighbouring sub-districts up to 50km away reported hearing the explosion. With Bor Rai District lying along the Thai-Cambodian, many residents thought fighting had broken out between the two countries, it was reported.

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