Chiang Rai police are holding in detention a conscript who allegedly shot dead Sornchai Sathitrakdamrong at a road checkpoint in Mae Suai district on the night of Jan 2.
Pol Lt-Gen Poonsap Prasertsak, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 5, said Friday (Jan 12) that Pvt Wanchai Jampa who is attached to the 17th Infantry Regiment based in Phayao was held on charges of murder, attempted murder, and shooting in public place.
He said that Pvt Wanchai had confessed to shooting at the car driven by Sornchai because the victim had failed to stop at the checkpoint to be checked by guards who included several assistant village headmen and himself.
Whether there will be any more suspects will depend on the police inquiry officers, said Pol Lt-Gen Poonsap as he assured that police would handle the case in a straightforward manner.
The victim’s girlfriend, Ms Sirirat Yabiang, earlier told police interrogators that they didn’t see anyone manning the checkpoint when they arrived at the checkpoint at about 8.30 pm and decided to drive through it without stopping. But after passing through the checkpoint for about 20 metres, she heard gunshots and the driver, Sornchai bent backward violently and then the car crashed into a roadside power pole.
Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Chalermchai Sitthisad explained that armed troops were deployed at the checkpoint because drug traffickers were operating in the area.
Gen Chalermchai said he received initial report from the conscript’s superior, claiming that the shooting was a misunderstanding.