Manhunt for second war weapons suspect

PHUKET: Police yesterday began a search for a second man they believe was involved in the transport of weapons seized at the fishing port Tuesday, after they discovered he was the registered owner of the pick-up truck seized for allegedly being used to transport the weapons of war. When Prachumpon Raampung, who had been driving the Toyota Tiger pick-up, was arrested, police sent the vehicle to the Phuket Provincial Transportation Office where it was found that the truck was registered to a Phang Nga resident, Somporn Paupadung. Police then discovered that Somporn was already on the run for evading two attempted murder charges in Phang Nga. Inside the truck, police found “many name cards of high-ranking police and judges”, as well as 10 music CDs and a camera, said Pol Lt Col Weerasin Kwanseng, Deputy Superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station. Copies of a sketch of Somporn have been sent to police stations throughout South Thailand. The suspect’s picture has not yet been released to the public. Also yesterday, Phuket Town Police officers took Prachumpon to his house at Moo Baan Irawadee 1, Tambon Vichit, to search for more evidence. In the house they found an ATM card from Thai Farmers Bank, a notebook, a list of accounts with several banks, and two mobile phones. Pol Col Chaiwat Ketworachai, a Superintendent at the Crime Suppression Division, said yesterday, “The Crime Suppression Division received a tip-off a month ago about Prachumpon, and we believe he is part of a gang that transports weapons of war to terrorists and rebels in nearby countries such as Sri Lanka.” AFP and AP reports from Colombo yesterday quoted a spokesman for Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense as saying that the Sri Lankan government was following the case closely and had ordered its embassy in Thailand to check on where the weapons were headed. Meanwhile, Phuket Town Police Superintendent Col Paween Pongsirin said he had met with Royal Thai Army and Royal Thai Navy officers yesterday, and will meet later with Ordnance Department officials in Bangkok to coordinate investigations into arms dealers.

Phuket News

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