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Pattaya Daily News

21 January 2009 :: 11:01:52 am 9631

Police Officer Suspended Following Shooting Incident In Pattaya

An incident in Pattaya that at first glance seemed a straightforward case of a discharged weapon in a public place has led to the suspension of a police officer suspected of shooting at a car and injuring its driver.
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At 4.50 am. on the 17th January 2009, duty officers at the Dongtan branch of Pattaya police were notified that a man had fired several shots from a gun into the air in front of Pattaya Number 7 School. A police team was dispatched to the scene where they found 7 11mm bullet cases but no indication of any injured parties.

Later on the same day, at around 9.30 am, Miss Wichanun Kwangmaha [37] reported to the Dongtan police station to file a complaint. She said she lived in Houyyai area and had been working at the Phoenix Golf Club as the food and beverage manager.

She explained that at around 4.40 am on that day she and her husband were driving along the Sukhumvit road, heading towards Houyyai. When they arrived at the three-way junction of Watbunganjanaram, opposite the Pattaya Number 7 School, a police truck which had been following them stopped them at the junction.

A man with a white t-shirt and khaki trousers got out of the truck and pulled out a gun as he walked towards her husband, Mr. Songchai Juntasen [35], and asked for his driving license. After that he searched their car suspiciously and accused them of carrying drugs or other illegal items.

According to Miss Wichanun, her husband got out of the car and the two men started to curse each other. The man, whom she presumed was a police officer, kept the gun in his hand all the time. After the search of their car was complete and nothing was found, her husband went back to the car and they sped away.

Unexpectedly, the policeman fired his gun at the car, about 7 shots in all, one of which went through the back window and hit her husband in his left rib. She then rushed him to Banglamung Hospital. He was in a serious condition and was later transferred to Chonburi Hospital for an operation.

Miss Wichanun described the man who shot her husband was about 170 cm. tall and aged around 35. He was partly dressed in a police uniform and his truck had “Houyyai Police Station” written on the side.

After gathering all the evidence and other relevant information, the intricacies of the chain of command in the Thai Police force came into play as Pol. Lt. Col. Ekadit Srimoon reported to the Chonburi Police Superintendent, Maj.Gen.Bundit khunajak who then later requested the Houyyai Deputy Superintendent, Pol. Col. Pakorn Tapnet and the Chief Inspector, Pol. Lt. Col. Prakob Sangpring, to find the suspect immediately.

On the same day [17th January], police found the suspect, Police Sergeant Major Jirapong Yootin [34], originally stationed at Banglamung Police station but temporarily on transfer to the Houyyai station, for reasons unknown. He was later brought to Dongtan Branch with his gun.

Pol. Sgt.Maj. Jirapong Yootin explained that he was driving along Sukhumvit road from a party that night. He had noticed Mr. Songchai’s car had no rear number plate, so he had stopped the car. He said Mr. Songchai got out of the car and challenged him to a fight. They ended up fighting and Mr. Songchai eventually got back into his car and sped away. The police officer said he decided to shoot into the air to threaten them but a bullet accidentally went through the car and hit Mr. Songchai.

At 10.00 am on the 18th January, police called in Miss Wichanun for further questioning and to identify the suspect’s photos. She revealed to reporters that she was glad to see the police had acted so fast on the case. “My husband just had an operation and the bullet has been removed but he is still in intensive care” ,she said.

As to why she didn’t have a rear number plate on her car she explained that they had a minor accident the other day and the front number plate was broken, which they had reported to the Banglamung police, and put in an order for a new one. During the waiting time, they decided to move the back one to the front because it’s more important to be recognized from the front.

Pol. Lt. Col. Prakob Sangpring, the Houyyai Chief Inspector revealed that Pol. Sgt.Maj. Jirapong Yootin would be suspended from his job and will remain in the Houyyai area during the legal proceedings. Reporters questioned if he would be fired from his job, to which Pol. Lt. Col. Prakob replied that it depended on the Chief Commander’s judgment and the decision of the court.

This case has been closely followed by the locals and PDN reporters noted that the Huoyyai police station is rather quiet at the moment and is mainly frequented by the suspect’s relatives and friends who keep visiting him all day.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Crime News

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