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Gun crackdown underway in Phuket



KATHU, PHUKET: Thung Thong Police are hoping to cut down on violent crime in their district by cracking down on the illegal possession of firearms.

Thung Thong Police Superintendent Kraithong Chanthongbai said there is a particularly high concentration of unauthorized people carrying weapons in tambon Kathu.

Many people living in Kathu work nights in Patong as touts and bar workers and arm themselves for self-protection. Such people tend to rent houses in Kathu, as it is near Patong but has lower living costs.

In addition to searching people, Thung Thong police aim to document all legally-held weapons and wipe out gun crime by getting illegal weapons off the streets.

All people found to be holding weapons illegally will be prosecuted, Col Kraithong said.

We are operating the Thung Thong police checkpoint near Patong Hill early mornings to search people returning from late-night work in Patong. We will disarm them as part of our crime suppression effort, as crime can easily happen when guns are involved,” said Col Kraithong Kraithong.

We have some information about 10-20 people who illegally carry firearms, but we need evidence to press charges. These people are not gunmen. They just have weapons for protection, but we need to act before something bad happens,” he said.

Most of those suspected were not from Phuket, but from places like Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Phattalung and Surat Thani, he said.

Most recently, a native of Nakhon Sri Thammarat was gunned down over Songkran after returning from Patong, where he worked as a tout on Soi Seadragon.

The victim appeared to have drawn his own 9mm pistol in an unsuccessful bid to fire back at his assailants.

Kathu Police duty officer Attawat Suwanrat said the investigation is still underway.

We need to investigate further and collect more evidence. We hope to get a suspect soon,” he said.

— Kitima Pornmongkhonwat


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