A BUSINESS conflict has been identified as the motive behind the two murders allegedly committed by a Bangkok traffic policeman – at Thienthong Transport Co’s office and a garage in Samut Prakan’s Muang district on Thursday evening.
Pol Senior Sgt-Major Damrongrit Jitthai, 51, of Bangkok’s Prawet precinct surrendered to the Muang Parmut Prakan police an hour or two later and handed over the murder weapon. Damrongrit reportedly admitted during interrogation on Friday that he had gunned down the head of the private bus station, Wanchai Arunsintharan, 56, and the company manager, Sirisak Thiensuwan, 41, because he was angered by their repeated refusal to sign him up as a business partner.
Damrongrit said the company, which does not have enough buses to cater to commuters, had invited Damrongrit and the operators of 20 song-thaew trucks last year to provide services on the Pak Nam–Ram Khamhaeng 2 route. Damrongrit claimed they had agreed that he could become a business partner, but the two men had somehow reneged on their understanding on three previous occasions.
On Thursday, Damrongrit said he had brought Bt250,000 cash for talks to the office of the victims in the hope of being appointed head of the Ramkhamhaeng 2 bus station to replace the “unpopular” Wanchai.
Faced with another rejection, Damrongrit claimed to have become enraged during an argument, shot the two men, and fled the scene in his pickup truck. Both victims received two gunshots to their heads.
Damrongrit later refused to perform a crime re-enactment and retracted parts of his testimony, police said. Muang Samut Prakan superintendent Pol Colonel Preecha Eiumnui, however, said Damronngrit was charged with premeditated murder and carrying a gun to a public place without a sound reason. While applying for the court-issued first 12-day detention order, police objected to his release on bail, arguing it could affect public morale.
Damrongrit’s version of events differed from the earlier testimony by Sirisak’s elder sister, Malika, 42. She said Damrongrit and the 20 song thaew group had requested to join the route concession since last September and owed Bt250,000 in fees.
As she and Sirisak kept asking for the overdue fee payment. On Thursday, the policeman promised to discuss this at the company’s office. She said Damrongrit arrived at 2.30pm and all was normal when she excused herself to leave the office at 5pm.
“Less than an hour later, I received a phone call that Damrongrit had shot my brother dead and the station head,” she claimed.