Nonthaburi police officer admits to stealing over 100 guns from department

A non-commissioned Nonthaburi province police officer admitted to stealing more than 100 guns from the police department. The officer, Chaowalit Pumkajorn, is in custody on theft charges after being arrested in the northeastern province of Nong Khai. According to Thai PBS World, the man is accused of selling or pawning the guns which he had stolen from the Pak Kret district’s police store room over five years. He says he took two to three guns at a time but then falsely said the guns were distributed to police officers at the station.

Chaowalit tried to flee into neighbouring Laos after the investigation implicated him as being the reason for the weapons’ disappearance. Deputy national police chief, Surachate Hakparn, says the man was flown to Bangkok for further questioning. He says the case should serve as a lesson for other police station chiefs who should be checking their gun inventories regularly.

A bag of 27 handguns was reportedly set in front of the police station with officials saying they are believed to be part of a lot of stolen weapons. They say the owner must have returned them over fears of being prosecuted.

The news comes after a 34-year-old former police officer by the name of Panya Khamrap, broke into a Nong Bua Lamphu province daycare centre and killed 37 people, including 24 children. The former officer had just appeared in court earlier that morning on a drug charge. He was previously fired from the police force for failing a drug test.

After he shot and stabbed the victims, he then went home and killed his wife and step-child before turning the gun on himself. The massacre has led to new legislation and renewed efforts to crack down on illegal guns and those owning guns without licenses. The news of another police officer breaking the law by stealing guns has thrust the nation’s gun problem back into the limelight.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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