Letter From Bangkok

How a Thai murder case created a YouTube star

Social media users elevate prime suspect in girl's murder to celebrity status, admiring his calmness under scrutiny and even good looks

In this videograb of a clip on the 'Lung Phol Pa Taen Family' Youtube channel, murder suspect Chaiphol Wipha is seen fixing agricultural machinery. PHOTO: LUNG PHOL PA TAEN FAMILY / YOUTUBE
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It's dark as villagers gather outside a house in north-eastern Thailand for some sticky rice and chicken soup.

Seated on the mat among them is a man who looks a little trendier than the usual rural folk. Sporting a crew cut and fitting T-shirt, he sips the soup, then grunts with satisfaction into the microphone he is holding in one hand.

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