– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community
PHUKET: The parents of two children killed in the M79 grenade attack on an anti-government rally in Bangkok’s Ratchadamri area in February said yesterday that they forgave the four suspects prostrating in front of them.
Thaweechai Wichakam, 39, tearfully apologised for what he had done and said he would atone for the crime in prison.
After succeeding in apprehending Thaweechai, Sunthorn Pheepuannok, 49, Somsri Marit, 40, and Chatchawal Prabbamrung, 45, police are now hunting for three more elusive suspects – Suksan Lomwong, 32, Kannika Wongtua, 38, and Wichien Sukpirom, 33.
The four apprehended men were accused of helping in the attack near Big C Ratchadamri that killed six-year-old Patcharakorn Yos-ubon, her four-year-old brother Korawich and her 59-year-old aunt Tipapan Suwanmanee. Some 20 people were wounded.
Thayakorn Yos-ubon and his wife Noppawan attended the police press conference held to present the four suspects to the media.
Thanking General Prayuth Chan-ocha, chief of the National Council for Peace and Order, and the police, Thayakorn said he thought the investigation would never be accelerated and get the perpetrators punished.
“Every time I drive past the shopping mall, I’m almost moved to tears and feel very sad about what happened.
“My family is grief-stricken from the great loss of our two children,” he said.
Authorities should urgently provide remedial assistance to those affected by the political unrest including his family, he said.
Pol General Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, acting National Police chief, said the four men were caught with three pickup trucks, an M79 grenade launcher, 25 M79 grenades, an M16 assault rifle plus 70 bullets, a rifle and about 10 hand grenades.
His deputy Pol General Somyot Poompanmoung said the four men confessed to firing the grenade launcher from a pickup that was crossing the Pratunam overpass.
Somyot declined to provide details on who did what or where the weapons came from, saying police were still searching for accomplices, who might be more than the police had issued warrants for.
Watcharapol’s adviser, Pol General Jaramporn Suramanee, said the suspects’ testimonies were in line with forensic findings that the grenades were shot from the overpass 300 metres away from the target, and that they were aimed at the middle of the road but hit the footpath instead, because of the speed of the moving vehicle.
The suspects will be charged with conspiring to commit murder, conspiring to commit attempted murder, conspiring to cause explosions that harm others and damage property, possessing and using explosives illegally, possessing guns and bullets without a permit, carrying guns and explosives in public without a permit, firing weapons in public, and violating the Internal Security Act by carrying weapons in public.
— Phuket Gazette Editors