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Thai Woman Commits Suicide Before Webcam During Online Chat

Bangkok: A 24-year-old Thai woman committed suicide in front of a webcam and broadcast it through an online video chat room to her estranged boyfriend and others, a news report said Monday. Nichakorn Srisawat, from
PTI December 08, 2010 13:15 IST
Bangkok: A 24-year-old Thai woman committed suicide in front of a webcam and broadcast it through an online video chat room to her estranged boyfriend and others, a news report said Monday.

Nichakorn Srisawat, from the central province of Nakhon Sawan, was found hanging by a bed sheet tied to a ceiling fan in her apartment in Bangkok's Bang Khen district Sunday, according to the Bangkok Post.

A webcam had been set up to record the suicide, which was screened on the locally popular Camfrog video chat network.

A maid at the apartment said a man had phoned her and asked her to rescue the woman but the door was locked and she could not get into the room in time to save her.

The Nakhon Sawannative was found hanging in her rented flat in Paholyothin Soi 69 on Sunday afternoon, with the webcam adjusted so users of the Camfrog chat site could see her body reflected on a mirror. 

A member of staff told police that a man had called urging her to rescue a female tenant who was about to kill herself, but the door was locked. Nichakorn was dead by the time they forced the door open.

A 25-year-old man who identified himself as Nichakorn's boyfriend said they had met through the Camfrog network and had just had an argument.  

He said he had decided to break up with her, causing her to become very upset.

Nichakorn reportedly wrote several messages before her suicide, saying how disappointed she was about the end of the affair.

The man was later identified as Teerawat Jeeraparpcharoen, 25, who had been dating the deceased for a month after they met on a Camfrog chat room.  

Teerawat told police that Nichakorn was hot tempered and that they had previously fought after she said an ex-boyfriend was trying to win her back.

On Sunday, while they were chatting on the Camfrog website, they had another argument and he wanted to break up, he said, adding that Nichakorn said that if he left her she would have no reason to live.

She then set up the webcam so he could watch her hang herself, he said, adding that he alerted the apartment staff but it was too late.

She committed suicide in front of a webcam broadcasting over the internet site Camfrog to allow others, including her estranged boyfriend, to witness her death.

The woman's messages posted on Camfrog's "ghost radio" chatroom lamenting her failed relationship has led police to believe she decided to end her life after her boyfriend broke up with her.

The tragedy has triggered a fresh round of criticisms over the inappropriate use of the webcam-based programme.

Camfrog made headlines a few years ago when it was found youngsters stripped in front of the webcam or used the site for sex chats with strangers.

A relative of Nichakorn yesterday warned users of online chat services to exercise caution.

"[Online chatting services] have both good and bad sides. One should use them cautiously," said the relative, who declined to be named. She said Nichakorn was a cheerful woman who had shown no signs of stress or depression.

The director of the Mental Health Department's Rajanukul Institute, Dr Panpimol Wiputakorn, urged police dealing with computer crime to make sure no footage of the suicide was disseminated online to prevent "copycat" behaviour.

Dr Panpimol also urged parents to pay more attention to their children, especially those who use webcam chat services regularly.

The "ghost radio" chatroom where Nichakorn broadcast her suicide was shut down yesterday, but some internet users reported they spotted the woman's suicide clip on the internet.  

The mental health expert said she did not think Nichakorn had a mental problem. She just wanted to share her agony with her peers in the chatroom.

The suicide rate in Thailand stands at 6.5 per 100,000 people. That is not high compared with other countries such as Japan and members of the European Union where the rate is almost 20:100,000.

Supinya Klangnarong, a member of the internet-user group Thai Netizen Network, said the tragedy should be a wake-up call for society to seriously promote internet literacy to prevent destructive use of the service.

"It is very important to create strong safeguards for internet users through cooperation from all sectors in society to protect internet users from the negative impact of online social networks," she said.