French man kills himself in northern Thailand

A 28-year-old French man who was in northern Thailand practicing meditation snatched a gun from a policeman and killed himself, officers said Tuesday. Police Sgt. Sawat Kamlun went on duty at a police outpost box Monday evening in Chiang Mai when the man, later identified as Martial Gabriel Rene Gaudout, of La Rochelle, France, came and sat on a bench next to the outpost, said police Maj. Witaya Winyayong.

Sawat told police he assumed Gaudout was staying at the nearby Ramperng temple learning meditation because of Gaudout's white shirt and trousers, Witaya said.

After Gaudout had been there three hours without speaking to Sawat, the policeman decided to leave his post to call the temple. Gaudout followed him toward the telephone booth, and grabbed the gun from Sawat's waist. Sawat told police that he fled when he saw that Gaudout had the gun in his right hand and a knife in his left hand. After running away some distance, Sawat heard gunfire, and returned to the post to find Gaudout had apparently shot himself, Witaya said. The abbot and a French monk from the temple told police that Gaudout had been at the temple about a month to study meditation, and was about to return to France soon, as his irplane ticket was about to expire, reports the AP.

Chiang Mai is 590 kilometers (370 miles) north of Bangkok. I.L.

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