As Supot Kansong, 42, drove his pickup up the dirt track leading through the palm oil plantation he was shot at from close range when a gunmen jumped from a ditch next to the road and unloaded 6 bullets in to him. Incredibly Mr Kansong survived.
Mr Kansong is a key-witness to the assassination a fellow villager at Klong Sai Pattana who happens to be his father-in-law. That same gunman, released from police custody due to lack of evidence, allegedly emptied the 6 bullets in to Mr Kansong just over a year later.
For almost a decade the villagers of Klong Sai Pattana have been on the receiving end of a palm oil company, who's concession having expired, managed to retain control of the land. When members of the Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand (SPFT) realised the land could be used to accommodate landless farmers they moved. The palm oil company has been trying to remove them ever since and using increasingly harsh measures in trying to do so.
Whilst it's a very extreme case unfortunately it is not isolated. With palm oil and rubber using massive areas of land in Southern Thailand farmers find themselves in an increasingly precarious position, many having been evicted or forced to leave and now have no where to grow crops and make a living from the land.
But what has happened to the residents of Klong Sai Pattana is shocking. Besides regular random shootings in to the community and raids by men driving diggers that destroyed peoples houses, a total of four people have been killed. On 11 January 2010 Mr Somporn Pannapum who was shot dead whilst having dinner at his home in the village itself. On the 19 November 2012 Ms. Montha Chukaew, aged 54, and Ms. Pranee Boonrat, aged 50, were shot and killed while they were on their way to a local market. And then on 11 February 2015, Chai Bunthonglek, was shot dead at his house by two gunmen.
Despite such violence the villagers with the support of the Southern Peasants’ Federation of Thailand (SPFT) refuse to be bullied off their land and keep fighting simply to have a place to grow food and leave a future for their children.