Schools temporarily closed as hunt on for six suspects

national June 16, 2012 00:00

By The Nation

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The Don Muang Technical College yesterday decided to shut its doors for a week after it was proved that a group of its students was behind the shootout on a city bus on Wednesday evening, which killed an innocent commuter and a student from the rival Thai

The Education Ministry has also ordered Thaivichitsilp School to close down for three days, and may extend the closure by another four days depending on the situation.

The police said later that they had secured arrest warrants for all six suspects, who are all Don Muang Technical College students. Sketches of the suspects have been distributed within the police force. Meanwhile, an unconfirmed report said the six students, reportedly aged between 15 and 20, have been in police custody since Thursday evening, though the police refused to confirm this.

According to security camera footage, eight students are believed to be behind the attack on Bangkok bus No 59. The footage, which has been widely circulated in the media, shows many of the attackers holding machetes and one of them pointing a pistol at the bus.

Every member of this group of students will face the charges of murder, attempted murder, carrying weapons and firearms without permission among other charges based on evidence, Don Muang police chief Pol Colonel Samran Nualma said.

Police have advised wounded passengers and relatives of the two slain victims to seek compensation through a government fund under the Justice Ministry, as well as through a civil case against the suspects once they are convicted.

Acting Bangkok police chief Pol MajGeneral Khamronwit Thoopkrajang said the Don Muang Technical College students were allegedly taking revenge for a classmate who was shot and wounded by a student from Thaivichitsilp School in February. He also called on all parents of the suspects to hand their children over to police before they are arrested.

Meanwhile, Samut Prakan police stopped a battle between students of two vocational schools from erupting by arresting 49 youngsters between the ages of 16 and 18 who were converging on Bang Na Trat Road in Bang Phli district. Police also seized a large number of weapons and two homemade bombs.

Four students admitted to possessing weapons, including 13 machetes and four axes, and they have been charged with carrying weapons and explosives without permission. The name of the schools involved have not been released, but police said this group was getting ready to attack another group of a rivalling school that had assaulted their classmate.

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