Two gangsters die in shootout with police
PHUKET TOWN: Two gangsters were shot and killed during an ambush by plain-clothes police that turned into a motorcycle chase after bullets ripped the twilight at Saphan Hin last night. The drama came as police moved in on four men believed to be members of a gang at the top of the Most Wanted list, suspected of murder, bag-snatchings, rape and other gangland activities. The four undercover police closed the net about 6:30 pm as the four gang members were talking outside the Lucky Complex where young thugs gather, sometimes to do deals and sometimes to fight each other after dark. One officer called out to the gang to surrender. Instead of giving themselves up, one of the gang drew a gun and opened fire. Police fired back. In the pandemonium that followed, suspect Shinawat Choomsukon, 24, was shot in the back as he tried to flee. He collapsed and died outside the Lucky Complex. Police say he was one of two gang members who fired a total of four shots from two Smith & Wesson .45 handguns. The other armed suspect, known only as Akekachai, was hit in the left leg and left buttock during the exchange of gunfire. He and the other two gang suspects, who were still uninjured, took off on separate motorcycles, with police in pursuit. In all, at least seven shots were fired before police pursued the three surviving suspects at high speed. Akekachai, 20, made it as far as Sakdidet Rd, less than a kilometer away, where loss of blood from the two gunshot wounds caused him to slump from his motorbike. Local residents found him lying on the road. He was declared dead on arrival at Phuket Ruampaet Hospital. Pol Col Paween Pongsirin, Superintendent of Phuket Town Police Station, said later that police had been after the gang for months on charges of conspiracy to murder, rape and bag-snatchings. The identity of the two gang members who escaped was not known but police will continue hunting them.
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