Mob protests police “lack of action’
CHERNG TALAY: In the latest flare-up in an ongoing gang war between youths from Bang Tao and neighboring Baan Don, some 100 teenagers blocked the main road intersection in Cherng Talay last night for seven hours. The mob were protesting about the “unfair” arrests of two Bang Tao teenagers during a brawl yesterday afternoon in Thalang, and about the repeated failure of police to apprehend a leader of the Baan Don gang. The mob blocked the intersection, outside the Cherng Thalay Police Station, from 8 pm to 3 am. They demanded to know what action the police had taken over an incident on January 21 when an 18-year-old from Bang Tao was shot in the leg. (See also https://thethaiger.com/news/index.asp?Id=3267). Decha Salay, Chief of Moo 1, Bang Tao, told the Gazette, “The teenagers from Bang Tao and Baan Don often fight. A bad boy called Kwang shot a Bang Tao teenager [in January], but the police still have not arrested him. “The gangs met again during the military service lottery drawing at Phranaang Saang School in Thalang, and once again they fought. “Someone called the police, but when the officers arrived they just grabbed the closest teenagers, handcuffed them and handed them over to the Cherng Talay Police.” The two were released soon afterward. K. Decha said that although Kwang was involved in the fight yesterday, he had once again escaped arrest. Frustration at the inability of the police to apprehend him had been the main reason for the protest, he explained. The mob made three demands: a progress report on the investigation into the shooting; the arrest of Kwang; and the transfer of the Thalang officers who arrested the two teenagers. Around midnight Vice-Governor Pongpow Kettong and Phuket Provincial Police Chief Pol Maj Gen Veerayuth Sittimalic arrived to negotiate with the mob. Gen Veerayuth told the Gazette, “The two kids were released soon after their arrest, once the police had ascertained they had not been doing anything wrong. “The crowd just wanted police to take action over the shooting by Kwang, because they believed officers were not doing anything about the case. “I have repeatedly told the police in Cherng Talay that it is a sensitive area that requires officers who can build relations with the local people. The police know this already,” he said.
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