Tuesday, July 07, 2020

When Premchai’s company stood up against the hunters 

Mar 27. 2019
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More mature readers may remember the deadly hunters that roamed northern Thailand in the 1970s and ’80s.

Members of this ruthless group weren’t interested in panthers and peacocks. Instead they killed their fellow humans. The bloodthirsty mob called themselves communists.

They ambushed buses, murdering the occupants along with monks and other innocent civilians.

One company stood out during this era. Premchai Karnasuta’s Italian-Thai Development refused to bow down to the reign of terror.

The communists did everything they could to prevent roads from being built. Roads that would link people and commerce in the underdeveloped and poorly connected North.

Italian-Thai bulldozer and grader drivers were targeted and killed. Because of the danger from communist snipers they built elaborate log cabins around the driver with small peepholes so he could see where he was going. (Some drivers reportedly drove off cliffs because of the limited visibility.)

Italian-Thai was the only company that was able to do the job.

The death of one protected black panther was a tragedy. But those gutsy Italian-Thai drivers are more than a statistic. They are unnamed heroes from a firm whose staff and management, past and present, are to be respected.

Al Eberhardt


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