PHUKET CITY: Police arrested 100 youngsters at the weekend in a citywide crackdown on teenage gang violence and law-breaking. More than 200 officers from the Phuket City police and Bangkok-based Patrol and Special Operations Division set up some 20 checkpoints around the city, Pol Col Paween Pongsirin, Superintendent of Phuket City Police Station, told the Gazette. “We have received complaints about these problems,” Col Paween said, explaining that teenage gangs tend to gather in Phuket City and create problems for other people by fighting and by racing motorbikes, sometimes resulting in innocent people being injured or killed. Favorite gathering places for the gangs, he said, include Saphan Hin, Suan Luang Park, Nawamindra Memorial Square, Khao Rang, Thepkrasattri Rd and Phuket Rajabhat University. The gangs, each consisting of 20 to 30 members, come from a variety of places across the island, including Soi Tonpho in the Spahan Hin area, Baan Lipon, Bang Khontee, Saiyuan and other parts of Rawai, as well as Chalong and Kathu. “When they meet another gang, they fight using guns, knives, brass knuckles and other weapons,” Col Paween said. “They also like to race on public roads, breaking the traffic laws.” Fifty three youngsters were arrested for unlawful assembly and 22 for conspiracy to commit assault. In addition, nine were arrested for road racing, three for drunk driving, four for careless driving, eight for glue sniffing and one for possession of ya bah (methamphetamine). The parents of all the youngsters were informed about the arrests and warned that repeat offenses would result in the parents, too, being prosecuted for failing to control their children. Col Paween said that the drive to suppress teenage gangs will continue.
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