On 1 September at Tao Ngoi District’s public park, Sakon Nakhorn province, country music queen Jintara Poonlarp will hold a concert to celebrate the sacred Phaya Tao Ngoi.
She will sing her hit song, “Tao Ngoi,” and the concert’s guest star will be Chaipol Wipa, otherwise known as Uncle Pol.
Phaya Tao Ngoi is the sacred turtle of the province to whom residences and worshippers from near and far make merits, ask for blessings, and, of course, lottery numbers. However, this article’s curiosity is not the sacred turtle; such worship is common enough in Thailand; instead, who is Uncle Pol?
On 11 May of this year, at the tiny Kokkork Village, a three-year-old girl named Chompoo went missing. Tragically, she was found dead on 14 May.
The case gripped the nation. According to the Royal Thai Police, the ongoing investigation has cost over two million baht. The culprit remains at large. Details of the case remain sketchy at best.
Chompoo’s mother alleged that Uncle Pol, who’s her brother in law, was the culprit. Immediately, news media sorted him out, and he became a fixture on Thai TV news.
To the audience, he came across as a simple and honest man who’s sad about his niece’s tragedy and was very helpful with Chompoo’s family. There has been an outpour of national sympathy towards him. People came to visit his home, where he lives with a wife and two sons. He became so popular there are even organized tours to see him. The street in front of his house has turned into a market where residents of Kokkork Village came to sell foods, goods, and souvenirs to “tourists.”
Thus, he has a “fan club.”
The fan club donated money, which Uncle Pol used to fix his unfinished home. They helped him finish building the house, which earlier did not even have a wall, and bought him more-than-needed furniture and electrical appliances. Someone bought him a motorbike. Another helped him finance a pickup truck. The country music queen Jintara invited him to join in her concert.
Ahead of the concert, Jintara released a music video with Uncle Pol, which is currently approaching six million views. There are even talks by famous producers of casting him in television soap operas. Even a youtube clip of him having breakfast has received over 800,000 views in his family’s channel.
And there you have it, a poor villager accused of murdering his niece is poised to become a star of national proportion, in a matter of months.
Despite all the hoopla and national attention, there needs to be a reminder. Someone murdered a three-year-old girl, and that someone remains at large.