THE ROYAL Thai Police (RTP) yesterday dismissed speculation on social media that gang members were queuing alongside officers to purchase police pistols.
Pol Colonel Krisana Pattanacharoen, the RTP’s deputy spokesman, said police had not found a single instance of this happening over the past three days that officers had been able to buy pistols for their own use.
Photographs of queues at police headquarters have been circulated on social media along with speculation that some people had been hired to cut into the line and purchase guns for gangsters.
Krisana said that police officers who wanted to buy guns had to stand in the line themselves. The guns they bought were stamped with a personal code identifying the purchaser and this was verified before they were allowed to take the firearm home, he said.
The pistols have been made available under an RTP project that was presented for Cabinet approval in 2015. It makes available 150,000 new Sigsauer P320SP pistols for police to purchase to support them in their work. They can buy a gun for about Bt23,890, which is lower than market price.
The queue for gun purchases at police headquarters has been very long over the past three days, |giving rise to the claims concerning purchases on behalf of gangsters.
Krisana said the RTP could facilitate only 2,500 police waiting in line each day, and so far 40,000 police officers had registered to buy guns. Management of the sale process would be improved after the New Year period, he said. The RTP also planned to distribute 55,000 so-called “social-security pistols” to police stations nationwide. Each station would receive 60 guns, Krisana added.