Four armed suspects nabbed; pro-govt group rallies to demand their release
Police seized an M79 launcher, six M79 grenades and four hand grenades along with several other weapons in a raid on Thursday night, and discovered that the grenades had the same lot numbers as those used in earlier attacks.
Pol General Aek Angsananont, deputy commissioner-general of the Royal Thai Police, said the weapons were found near the rally site of a red-shirt group outside the National Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters. The police had come over to check the area after two M79 grenades were fired at the NACC compound earlier that night.
Aek said the weapons had been left on a deserted plot at the mouth of Soi Nonthaburi 46 in a green cloth bag. The cache seized included two M79 cartridges, a .45 revolver with 44 rounds of ammunition and 39 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, and four RGD-5 hand grenades.
A police source said the M79 grenades had the same lot number as those fired at the Thai PBS head office on February 26, while the RDG-5 grenades had the same lot number as those used in previous attacks in Bangkok’s Bang Na area, Chon Buri and Nonthaburi.
Apart from seizing the war weapons on Thursday night, police also arrested four armed suspects.
The suspects were identified as Chuchart Chusiri, 33; Ratanapong Inthararangsi, 35; Samai Boonnarn, 60; and Kompakorn Kohkaew, 46; and were found hanging out with the security guards of the red-shirt People’s Radio for Democracy group near the NACC headquarters.
Chuchart was allegedly caught carrying a shotgun with 38 rounds of ammunition, while police said Ratanapong was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle with 120 rounds of ammunition and two RGD-5 grenades. Samai allegedly had a home-made gun along with 11 rounds of 9mm ammunition, while Kompakorn was nabbed as he is wanted for car theft.
Assistant Police Commissioner Lt-General Winai Thongsong said M79 grenades had been used at least 17 times so far. He said these attacks were possibly set to serve as a catalyst ahead of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) rally today and the pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) march set for April 5.
It is possible that a group is either trying to instigate violence, setting up a situation or simply attacking its rival, he said, adding that it had become tougher to trace those responsible.
Even independent individuals might be behind the attacks.
Meanwhile, a pro-government group rallied at the Nonthaburi Police Station to demand the release of the four arrested on Thursday night.
Caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said yesterday that three or four suspects had been arrested in relation to the M79 grenade attack on the NACC.