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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

A Murder in Thailand
Sunday, August 13, 2023 @ 4:43 PM

Daniel Sancho is a handsome looking chap with long hair, a big physique and a winning smile. He looks like our idea of Tarzan. His parents are both noted Spanish actors and Daniel works as a cook doing podcasts and videos from his kitchen in Thailand.

When not cooking up a storm, the twenty-nine-year-old appears to have other pastimes, including the apparent murder and dismemberment of a Colombian friend called Edwin Arrieta, a plastic surgeon, on August 1st. Bits of Edwin were later found by the police is his kitchen, with other parts scattered between a rubbish dump and the sea. ‘It took me three hours to dismember him’, says the accused.

Daniel (with his handcuffed hands blurred in one video) has confessed, says Marca (and a hundred other news-sources): ‘I’m guilty, but I was held by Edwin like a hostage’, and he was duly hauled off by the police (after a dinner and night in a fancy hotel, paid for by the cops) and is now cooling his heels in a Thai jail.

Messages in Daniel’s phone apparently show Edwin threatening to kill him if he broke off a relationship between them. A mess. Daniel says ‘I did it, but I was trapped by Edwin’.

‘I’m sorry this all happened’ says Daniel to a cameraman (and no doubt a clutch of reporters). ‘Don’t forget me’, Daniel tells his friends before passing the prison gates.

Premeditated murder is frowned upon in Thailand, and Daniel could end up with life imprisonment or even a lethal injection at the Bang Kwang Prison in Bangkok. 

Of course, there’s a thing out there called ‘the Gay Panic Defence’, where, um, a normal person loses his cool when trapped in a homosexual relationship. Maybe that’ll fly…

The sordid item has been reported and discussed endlessly in Spain during this past few weeks, with much sympathy for Daniel; and there are those that consider, like a stringer from the ABC newspaper, that Daniel is a victim rather than anything else and that he should be returned home as quickly as possible. 

The Spanish naturalist Frank Cuesta, whose wife spent over six years in a Thai prison (for possession of 0.005g of cocaine) says that prison there ‘is very hard – and very expensive’.

The reason this is the lead story in every newspaper in Spain is that there’s not much else going on at the moment (besides global melting, the Ukrainian War, Donald Trump being threatened with jail, Brexit fallout and the current Spanish political crisis).

Meanwhile, in Poland, another Spaniard, a war-correspondent for Público called Pablo González, has been held for the past eighteen months accused (but not charged) of spying. There’s nothing much in the media about his situation, nor any apparent effort from the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to resolve his case.

He’s not as pretty as Daniel though. There’s that.

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