After 19 hours of a bus hostage drama, an allegedly intoxicated 56-year-old man who had held his bus co-passenger hostage at knifepoint on Saturday night in Kalasin province was finally subdued by police on Sunday afternoon.
A former Bangkok taxi driver who had reportedly been on medication for mental illness boarded the Bangkok-Ban Phaeng bus at 8pm in Kalasin’s Kham Moung district. When the bus had reached Somdet district and was heading towards Muang, he held the passenger next to him hostage at knifepoint.
The driver took the bus to Somdet Police Station to let superintendent Pol Colonel Thaweesak Raksasilpa and other officials handle the hostage crisis, resulting in the suspect agreeing to free 15 passengers on board the bus. The suspect, however, refused to leave the bus and threatened to stab the police officers who were trying to get him out. Police asked the bus driver to drive to the man's home in Kham Moung to let his relatives talk him into dropping the knife but that also failed, so the bus returned to the precinct early on Sunday. By this time Kalasin Governor Kraisorn Kongchalard and provincial police chief Pol Maj-General Thinnarat Phetchpansri had also joined the negotiating team.
The decision to subdue the suspect with metal rods was made after the earlier use of five tear gas canisters proved fruitless, as he resisted the police by waving a knife to threaten the officers.
The use of Y-shaped rods and hooked sticks to subdue knife-wielding or agitated people and prevent injuries to the suspects as well as police had first made headlines last July when Maha Sarakham police released a video clip of the demonstration online. In this case, a similar tool was successfully used to apprehend the suspect.