Murder warrant issued for Chalerm’s son

BANGKOK (AFP): Thai police today issued a warrant for the arrest of Duongchalerm Yoobamrung, 29-year-old son of top MP Chalerm Yoobamrung, for shooting dead a police officer in a Bangkok nightclub. Inspector General Suraphon Kanchanajittra said he ordered the arrest of Sub-Lt Doungchalerm for premeditated murder after witnesses reported seeing him fire the fatal shot last night. “There were two witnesses who testified that they saw the suspect point the gun. A shot was heard and the policeman died,” he told reporters. Police have also received a video of the killing from the club’s security system. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra vowed that justice would be allowed to take its course without any interference, despite Chalerm’s key role in the coalition government. “The government and police will consider everything in this case in line with the law and evidence and witnesses, and influence will have nothing to do with it,” he said. Police said witnesses at the scene reported that Duongchalerm, a serving army officer, was with his two older brothers and a group of about a dozen friends when the shooting occurred at the Twenty Club nightspot. The brothers clashed with a group of Crime Suppression Division officers who were mounting a search for members of a kidnap gang suspected of holding to ransom a Chinese woman who was rescued yesterday. Witnesses said that the brothers – well known for late-night brawling and brushes with the law – had become irritated at the inconvenience of the search and an argument broke out before the shot was fired. Chalerm told reporters that he would cooperate with police in searching for his youngest son, who was not present when police commandos and forensic experts scoured the family home earlier today. “I hope that I will get hold of him and surrender him to police (soon). The police should inform me where they want to question him,” he said, denying any knowledge of the shooting. Tests on hairs found in the hand of the victim, Police Senior Sergeant Major Suvichai Rodwimuk, matched samples obtained from the family home, they said. “We are confident we have enough evidence, even though we have not yet found the bullet casings,” said police spokesman Lieutenant General Phadet Thalakawong. “The national police chief and metropolitan commander have ordered the case to be processed quickly without any fear of dark influences,” he added.

Phuket News

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