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Police promise Udomsuk outpost after brawl

Jun 19. 2019
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By Kornkamon Aksorndech
The Nation

A traffic police command centre has been set up at the start of Sukhumvit Soi 103 Udomsuk in Bangkok's Bang Na district in a bid to prevent brawls among motorcycle-taxi drivers, said Bang Na superintendent Colonel Nakhon Thongpanich on Wednesday.

The move followed the June 15 daytime fight between 100 members of two rival motorcycle-taxi stands over the prime location, which led to two deaths. 

A Kerry Express delivery man Weerawat Phuengkhut, 20, and a motorcycle-taxi driver Watcharin Ngamchalao, 33, died. A video of the violence went viral on social media. 

Police said the legally registered "Udomsuk 1" motorcycle-taxi stand's members, led by Pramook Wichiendilokkul, started the fight with their rivals whose "Udomsuk 2" queue is in front of a Siam Commercial Bank branch, as the first group claimed they had been losing customers. The police issued arrest warrants for seven suspects, including Pramook.

Nakhon said the authorities had decided to close the second taxi stand as it was not authorised to operate and was occupying a smart taxi stand space. 

Meanwhile, police brought two other suspects to court to apply for a 12-day detention period. 

Police objected to their bail request, saying there was a risk of flight and witness tampering. 

Manop Mingmongkol and Piya Poungkesorn would face the charges of conspiring to murder, violating the Firearms Act, starting a brawl and creating public disorder. 

Nakhon said that so far police had interviewed 60 motorcycle-taxi drivers. 

Metropolitan Police Bureau deputy Maj General Nitinan Phetchborom said 90 men were involved. Some would face serious charges as they reportedly prepared weapons by buying batons or guns. 

Police have twice raided Pramook's house in Soi Udomsuk 26 and no incriminating evidence was found, said Metropolitan Police divisional chief Maj-General Mongkol Warunno. 

Pramook's parents told police their son would surrender soon as he was gathering assets to post for his bail.

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