Thai senator says he shot ex-wife by accident

A Thai senator who shot his ex-wife at the dinner table with an Uzi 9mm pistol said Tuesday that her death was a tragic accident.

Boonsong Kowawisarat, 56, said the gun went off while he was trying to remove a stuck bullet, fatally injuring 46-year-old Chanakarn Detkard, who was also his secretary.

"It was my gun. I showed her the gun that I had bought for her. She lived with her mother and our two daughters -- there are only women in her place -- so I wanted her to have it as I'm worried about them," he told AFP by telephone.

"My hand is not in good condition. I am ill. I had a stroke," he said. "It was an accident."

The death occurred on Sunday evening at a private dining area in northern Phrae province in the presence of about 10 family members.

Confusion surrounded the incident as police initially reported the gun was a 9mm Uzi sub-machine gun. It later transpired it was a pistol of the same brand. The victim was also first reported to be the senator's cousin.

Police said Boonsong, who is the Thai senate representative for northern Mae Hong Son province, is likely to be charged with causing death by negligence, although he currently has parliamentary immunity.

"He will probably be called to hear the charge after the end of the parliamentary session," police lieutenant Choosak Poonsawat said by telephone from Phrae province.

If convicted, he faces a maximum punishment of 10 years' imprisonment and a 20,000 baht ($670) fine.

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