Swiss expat in Chiang Mai victim of brutal murder

Published:  22 Aug at 6 PM
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A retired expat living in Chiang Mai was found stabbed and strangled to death, and tied up to the stair rails in his rented house.

Daniel Straub’s body was found a week ago in his rented house in Soi 6 off Suan Dok Road. He’d rented the house for six years and was well-known to his landlord, who found his body after he’d not seen him around for a day or so. The dead man’s motorcycle was missing from its usual parking spot, and belongings were stolen from the house.

As is commonplace with expat deaths in Thailand, local police initially put his death down to suicide, but a close friend who spoke with the police has insisted via a local online forum that Daniel was in no way suicidal. According to the friend, the 60 year-old man had served in the Swiss Army and was quite capable of looking after himself. He was well-off, had no money worries, wasn’t involved with a Thai girlfriend and had no apparent enemies.

To his friends, Daniel was a generous, caring man who was enjoying his retirement in Chiang Mai. At the time of his death, he and his friend were working together on a book, with Daniel doing most of the academic research needed. However, an incident which occurred in 2014 may have been the reason behind the brutal murder.

It seems that Daniel came home one night to find two Thai men breaking into the house. A fight ensured, with Daniel’s martial arts skills resulting in the thieves’ legs being broken and their being thrown out into the street where he continued to attack them. Revenge attacks of this kind are common in Thailand, mostly due to the cultural syndrome of loss of face.

The murdered man’s friend told the police about the attack, but at present they seem unable to rule out suicide or some other reason for Daniel’s stab wounds, proof of strangulation and his being tied to the stair rails. His family are flying to Chiang Mai in order to testify about his psychological state at the time of his death, and the coroner is as yet unable to establish a cause of death.
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