Patong vendors’ chief cleared in searches

PHUKET: Police searches of six Phuket properties belonging to Patong Vendors’ Association President Somwang “Lae” Wonghan, 39, have failed to turn up any illegal firearms, Pol Lt Col Chartchai Nikorthanon, Deputy Superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station, has told the Gazette. The raids, which were led by Phuket Town Police Station Superintendent Pol Col Paween Pongsirin and Phuket Town District Office Chief Weerawat Chanpen, turned up an 11mm pistol at K. Lae’s holiday home on Koh Racha Yai and a 9mm pistol at his Patong property at Rat-U-Thit 200 Pi Rd. Both guns were found to be registered. Searches of his houses in Kathu, including his Anuphas Golf Ville residence, as well as his property on Tilok Uthit 2 Rd in Phuket Town and his house in Soi Post Office in Patong, turned up no firearms. Col Chartchai, who joined the raids, said, “K. Lae is under police surveillance as he is considered an ‘influential person’. “We will continue to investigate any ‘influential people’ about whom we receive complaints. We are working towards eliminating illegal arms in Phuket very soon,” Col Chartchai added. The searches follow the arrest of K. Lae on December 2, when he was taken into custody by police at about 11:20 pm as he sat in the new Chilli Phuket pub and restaurant on Tilok Uthit 1 Rd, Phuket Town. Fellow diners contacted police after they noticed he was wearing a pistol in a holster at his waist. K. Lae was fined 1,000 baht for carrying a gun in a public place without a license to do so.

Phuket News
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