PATONG BEACH: Kathu Police Station is in the hot seat due to complaints of “unnecessary roughness” while five men were being arrested yesterday morning. The five are Piyapong Kwanmuang, 20, Sahakij Payakka, 19, Sarawuth Sang-ngern, 20, Wanchai Klingklao, 20, and Winai Sumpaothong, 19 — all employees of the Tara Patong Hotel. Areerat Choomchuay, deputy personnel manager of the hotel, told the Gazette this morning that Sarawuth told her that he and his friends were at the Galaxy Discotheque in Soi Sunset, Patong, early Monday morning. Winai went home at around 5:00 am. Soon after, Piyapong had an argument with a man, returned to the staff dormitory, and then went back to the Galaxy with a pistol. He drew the gun on the man he had argued with – an undercover policeman –and was immediately surrounded by four or five of the policeman’s colleagues, also undercover officers from Kathu Police Station. A shot was fired as the men tried to take the pistol away from Piyapong, but no one was injured. According to the hotel’s management, Piyapong and his friends were then taken outside the disco, one by one, and beaten up by the undercover officers. The four were later taken to Kathu Police Station and charged with attempted murder of a police officer. The police then went to the hotel staff dormitory to search for more weapons. There, they found Winai sleeping. Winai was unable to tell the police anything about weapons. The officers then began to assault him in front of others living in the dormitory. He was later taken to Kathu Police Station. The five men were bailed out at around 11 am by Sutham Sae-Jia, personnel manager at the Tara Patong Hotel. They were later taken to Patong Hospital. Piyapong and Sahakij were badly injured and are now recovering at Wachira Phuket Hospital. Winai is in serious condition with a broken back at Patong Hospital. Sarawut and Wanchai have been released from Patong Hospital. The five men and their relatives have filed a complaint against the undercover officers at Kathu Police Station. Earlier today, they also lodged a complaint with Phuket Governor Charnchai Soontharamut. Pol Col Korkiat Wongworachart, superintendent of Kathu Police Station, could not be reached for comment.
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