‘Ko Tee’ hunted after weapons cache discovered
Security is being tightened in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces following the discovery this week of a large cache of military weapons in Chachoengsao, purportedly stored in preparation for an attack in the capital.
Deputy national police chief Pol General Srivara Ransibhramanakul ordered tighter security and further searches in the wake of the weapons discovery in Bang Nam Priao district, saying intelligence indicated there were more weapons hidden in Bangkok suburbs and nearby.
At a press conference on Wednesday evening, he linked the weapons cache to an extremist political group led by prominent red shirt Wuttipong “Ko Tee” Kottham-makhun.
Srivara said the weapons found in Bang Nam Priao had been stashed there sometime after April, since farmers preparing their fields for planting that month had seen no sign of the cache.
An initial examination of the weapons indicated they were from the same batch as those used in at least three attacks in 2014 within the jurisdictions of the Metropolitan Police Bureau and Provincial Police Region 1.
Srivara said serial numbers on the RGD 5 explosives found are believed to be in line with those on weapons allegedly found at the site of a 2014 red-shirt rally in Muang Nonthaburi and in a March 18 search of Wuttipong’s business offices in Pathum Thani.
The serial numbers also resemble those on weapons found during a January 15, 2014, protest at the Thai Meteorological Department in Bang Na, others linked to an explosion at a Bang Chan bank on February 21, 2014, and still others linked to an explosion in the capital’s Pratunam area.
Also on Wednesday night, Srivara led 30 soldiers to a house in Nakhon Nayok’s Ongkharak district in search of Wattana Sapwichian, 53, regarded as a “person of interest” regarding the newly discovered weapons.
Homeowner Prayoon Boonsombat, 55, told them Wattana had never lived there. His name had been added to Prayoon’s household registration at the request of a third person because Wattana was seeking treatment for cancer at a nearby medical centre.
Believing that Wattana might instead be living in Pathum Thani’s Nong Sua district, Srivara ordered a search there today (November 30).