Police appeal for patience in Pongtorn probe

SURAT THANI: A senior officer from Police Region 8 has denied press reports that an arrest has been made for the assassination of Phuket Land Office Deputy Chief Pongtorn Hiranyaburana seven weeks ago, and has appealed for the public to be patient. Pol Col Ronapong Saikaew, Superintendent of Investigation of Surat Thani Provincial Police Region 8, who is heading up the team investigating the murder, told the Gazette today, “We don’t want to make detailed information public because it might tip off the killers. “But I can tell you that although we have not arrested anyone yet, we know which gang carried out the killing and we are hunting one particular person. Once we get him, everything else will follow. “This man is wanted in several other cases, but so far we have not been able to catch him,” Col Ronapong said. He appealed for public patience. “We can’t issue arrest warrants [for others involved in the case] because we don’t have sufficient evidence and witnesses, but we are certain that we will make arrests. Please give us time because this is a difficult case.” He also gave updates on progress in investigations into other recent contract murders in Phuket. • Surapong “Ord Patong” Rittee, freelance reporter working for Channel 3, and Thai Rath and Siang Tai newspapers, gunned down on February 11. The gunman was arrested in Bangkok. Warrants have been issued for three other people, one of them a police officer in Patong. • Prasert and Thavorn Trairat, parents of Thepkrassatri Mayor Prasong Trairat, shot dead in their home on May 5. Police already know the identity of the gunman and an arrest warrant was issued in late May. • Suwim Noodang and Pramote Choochat, shot dead at the Freeway Restaurant on Bang Tao Beach on May 10. Three arrest warrants have been issued but police are concentrating on the capture of one man who “climbed into nearby hills”. He is armed, so police are waiting for him to give himself up. • Crime magazine reporter Suppachai “Chai” Udomdee, shot dead in his car in Phuket Town on April 17. Investigation has shown that the killing was the result of a business conflict. Police believe they know who ordered the hit but have been unable to amass sufficient evidence for an arrest warrant. • Visanuwat Ngamjun, shot in his car in front of the Big C Supercenter on February 28. A police officer from Songkhla, who allegedly identified the victim for the killers, has been arrested. He denied the allegations and was released on bail. The killer, the driver of the motorbike used in the assassination, and the person who hired them have all been identified and warrants have been issued for their arrests. “I’m certain that arrests will be made in all these cases,” Col Ronapong added.

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