M79 attacks: warrants sought

national July 15, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

Police find 10 people involved in attacks on PDRC rallies

POLICE ARE seeking arrest warrants for seven suspects believed to be linked to the firing of M79 grenades into anti-government protests in Chaeng Wattana and Ratchadamri, deputy national police chief General Somyot Poompanmoung said yesterday.

 He said police believed a group of around 10 people were involved in the war-grade weapon attacks earlier this year at the People’s Democratic Reform Committee’s (PDRC) Chaeng Wattana protest |site and its Big C Ratchadamri rally site.

The attacks killed two people and wounded more than 20.

Somyot said police had gathered enough evidence to arrest seven people in the gang.

The seven suspects are Thaweechai Wichakam, 39, Sunthorn Pheepuannok, 49, Suksan Lomwong, 32, Somsri Marit 40, Chatchawal Prabbamrung, 45, Kannika Wongtua, 38 and Wichien Sukpirom, 33.

The charges they face include conspiring to commit premeditated murder, conspiring to cause explosions that killed and wounded others and illegally possessing explosives.

The seven are set to be hit with these additional charges: possessing guns and bullets without permission, carrying guns in public places without permission or valid reasons, and violating the Internal Security Act 2008 by carrying weapons in public places.

Somyot said Narongsak Plai-aram, a suspect who on Sunday re-enacted shooting an M79 grenade into Shinawatra Building 3, where PDRC protesters were rallying, had also confessed to firing the weapon at Sanambin Nam and the Saowanee intersection.

Suspect under military custody

Narongsak is being interrogated and is in military custody.

Meanwhile, acting national police chief General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit said around 34,000 guns seized by police and used as evidence in court trials over the past 13 years would today be sent to Bangkok Steel Industry Plc in Samut Prakarn to be destroyed.

The haul consists of 21,950 pistols and 12,400 long-barrel guns.

Somyot said only 5 per cent of the guns seized as evidence were used by the state and none of the guns to be destroyed were seized during political rallies.

Police also fixed the parts of some ceased guns to other guns and no seized guns had been destroyed in the past 15 years until today.

Police had earlier denied allegations that they recycled display guns and weapons seized during the National Council for Peace and Order crackdown in order to give a distorted impression of the number of seizures.