LUMPINEE STADIUM MURDER STORY
The history of the mythical stadium Lumpinee was not always glorious, it even had a bloody period, especially in the 80s, where there were several murders with firearms within the stadium.
At a time when Bangkok’s biggest godfather ruled, the promoter and owner of the Sor Thanikul Gym, Mr. Kleo Thanikul, a bloody war occurred between mafia rivals, sometimes the scene of these deadly tragedies happened in the very enclosure of the Lumpinee stadium.
On April 2, 1982, a big show was organized in the stadium of Lumpinee, a charity show which was called “The battle for the Great Charity” of which a part of the money won was to be offered to the Phramongkutklao hospital, the promoters of this event were Mr. Wat Kiat Sompob and Mr. Song Kanchanutchasak. During the show, the stadium was full, several important personalities were present, the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Transport, the director of the Phramongkutklao hospital as well as senior generals of the Thai army.
The main match was between two ring legends, Nong Khai Sor Praphatson and Ruengsak Phetchyindee.
At the end of the last round of the match between Nong Khai and Ruengsak, a grenade was thrown towards the stand where Kleo Thanikul resided. The explosion caused great damage and injured many people. Kleo Thanikul, miraculously, managed to escape unscathed. A second explosion and gunshots generated general panic in the crowd and sowed chaos in the stadium.
The attack caused the death of five people and 50 people were seriously injured including two former great champions Amporn Suwan and Petchdam Muang Surin.
The police declared that this murderous assault was a result of the assassination of two important people from the Thai mafia world, two people close to Kleo Thanikul, which took place on October 22, 1980 just in front of the stadium of Ratchadamnoen, an attack which had targeted without success the godfather Kleo Thanikul.
Because Kleo Thanikul’s great rival was also a powerful mafia who wanted to eliminate Kleo Thanikul by all means. His name was Chaiwat Palangwattanakit nicknamed Gnow Ha Phalang, he was an important promoter and owner of the famous Ha Phalang Gym.
The bloody rivalry between these two mafiosi reached its paroxysm on March 4, 1988 during an evening organized in the stadium of Lumpinee by the promoter Songchai Ratanasuban.
The main fight was between Chamophet Ha Phalang (Best boxer of the year 1985) and Langsuan Phayuthapum (Best boxer of the year 1987). In the fourth round of this star match, shots were fired near the ring. There were several deaths and many injured in the audience following a monstrous stampede. A French spectator was even seriously injured and taken to hospital. People fled, leaving the bodies of the victims, it was a general panic. The promoter Songchai Ratanasuban, present at this evening, had to flee the tragic scene by climbing the gates of the stadium. Promoter and godfather Gnow Ha Phalang was shot in the left eye, shot in the back and another bullet in the chest, rushed to hospital, succumbed to his injuries, “unofficially” murdered by the men of Kleo Thanikul!
This is why security gates were then installed at the entrance to the stadium to detect people who could hide a firearm, in order to avoid such carnage again…
Kleo Thanikul ruled the promotion of fighting in Lumpinee during the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Despite being one of the most powerful criminals in Thai history, he is considered somewhat of the father of boxing in Thailand because he was one of the first and most important promoters of the country. A recognized promoter in Thai boxing but also in Boxing, he has organized many major shows in these two disciplines.
Kleo Thanikul was executed on April 5, 1991. On Pinklao Nakhon Chaisi road, in Sam Phran near Bangkok, his car with his driver and his bodyguards were ambushed. The killers left no chance for the occupants of the vehicle, the car was riddled with bullets and exploded with M-16 grenade launchers, the godfather received nearly sixty bullets!
BY SERGE TREFEU