PHUKET TOWN: Two suspected drug dealers have been shot dead in separate incidents, and police fear a wave of gangland-style slayings could follow in Phuket. The executions, within hours of each other, indicate that the island’s drug overlords are having potential “squealers” permanently silenced rather than risk them talking to police. Elsewhere in Thailand, scores of killings over the past six weeks have been blamed on the kingpins of Thailand’s drug empires taking steps to prevent members of their gangs naming names. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s three-month crackdown to wipe out illegal drugs is believed to have triggered a crackdown in response, with potential traitors being obliterated by concerned drug bosses. Pol Col Apirak Hongthong, Deputy Commander of Phuket Provincial Police, told the Gazette, “The big dealers are worried that the small and medium dealers may change their mind and help the police. That’s why they have started to kill. “I think there might be more ya bah [methamphetamine] dealers killed in Phuket. The number of people killed since the campaign was announced is now more than 150 throughout Thailand.” The first victim in Phuket was Sayan Somnam, 47, also known as “Maew Bohnam,” who was riddled by five bullets as he sat in front of his Phuket Town home on Suyrin Rd, Soi 5, with his daughter last Saturday afternoon. He died after being taken to Wachira Hospital. In K. Sayan’s home, police discovered six ya bah pills in a drinking straw that had been folded into a film canister and hidden in a bedroom closet. Witnesses told police that K. Sayan’s killers came by motorcycle. The gunman, who had been riding pilion, walked up, fired the shots, then rode off at speed with his companion. K. Sayan was well known to police and had many convictions for possession of illegal drugs. That evening, victim two was gunned down. Viboonsak Pechonchaisith, also 47 and known to everyone as “Ko Kee Bangnuew” was hit close to his heart about 10:30 pm on Phuket Rd, near Phuket Customs Office. K. Viboonsak died on the way to hospital. His killers came by pick-up truck, a black Toyota. The driver parked nearby, wound down his window and called out, “Ko Kee”. K. Viboonsak was walking towards the pick-up when he was shot. Police records show that he had been named many times as a drug supplier but they had never found evidence to charge him.
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