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Woman is arrested after cutting rope holding painters 26 floors up, Thai police say

Building painter being interviewed
A building painter who was rescued after being left hanging off of a high-rise 26 stories up speaks to reporters near Bangkok, Thailand.
(Surat Sappakun / Associated Press)

A resident of a high-rise condominium in Thailand cut the support rope for two painters, apparently out of anger that she wasn’t told they would be doing work, and left them hanging above the 26th floor until a couple rescued them, police said Wednesday.

The woman is facing attempted murder and property destruction charges, Col. Pongjak Preechakarunpong, chief of the Pak Kret police station north of the Thai capital, told the Associated Press.

Pongjak did not say what prompted the suspect to cut the rope, but Thai media reported that she hadn’t seen an Oct. 12 announcement by the condo that the painters would be doing work and was apparently upset when they appeared outside her unit.

A video clip on social media showed the two painters asking residents on the 26th floor to open a window and let them in. One of the painters, a Myanmar national named Song, told Thai media that he and two co-workers had lowered themselves from the 32nd floor to repair a crack on the building.

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When they reached the 30th floor, he looked down and saw that someone on the 21st floor had opened a window and cut his rope. He tried asking for help from other units, but nobody was in, leaving him and one of his fellow painters stranded. Their third colleague continued to support them from the top floor, said Praphaiwan Setsing, the resident who eventually rescued them around the 26th floor.

Setsing said her husband had noticed one of the painters signaling for help.

“Never give up” was Hiroshima survivor Sunao Tsuboi’s trademark phrase, especially for his fight for a world without nuclear weapons.

“This incident is shocking and should not happen at all,” she said.

The management of the condo accompanied the painters to report the incident to the police. The 34-year-old suspect at first denied she was responsible, but police sent the severed rope for a fingerprint and DNA analysis, media reported.

On Wednesday, the woman and her lawyer appeared at the police station. After the police showed her the CCTV footage and the forensic evidence, she confessed but denied any intention to kill the workers.

Pongjak said the suspect was temporarily released. Police will file an indictment at the provincial court within 15 days, he said. She could face a prison term of up to 20 years if found guilty on a charge of attempted murder.


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