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Police apprehend man who killed 2, injured 3 at Phuket market

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Police apprehended the Phuket market shooter in Hat Yai. (via Phuket Police)

After a shooting on Friday at the Phuket City Municipality Fresh Market 1 that left 3 injured and 2 dead, police announced today that they have apprehended the suspect they hold responsible for the shootout. Investigators have been tracking his escape after he fled the scene of the crime and managed to pick him up this morning. He allegedly confessed to the crime and blamed financial hardships for his business and personal depression.

The shooter was identified as 47 year old Maneenop Meethong from Songkhla who operated one of the seafood stalls right in the area where the shooting took place. He had called the police, saying he was surrendering, but instead went on the run.

He fled the scene in a black Toyota Fortuner, which police tracked to Koh Kaew. The car was abandoned at Laem Hin Pier and CCTV footage captured him boarding a longtail boat towards Coconut Island. However, investigators found that he’d actually taken the boat to Krabi province where he landed at Ao Nang Beach.

Maneenop had a car waiting for him that took off towards his home province of Songkhla and he fled to his hometown in Hat Yai. CCTV cameras managed to capture images of him and help police officers from Phuket City, the Police Region 8, the Provincial Police Region 9, and Songkhla Provincial Investigation Unit coordinate to identify and apprehend their suspect.

He was taken into custody and held at the Hat Yai Police Station until around 3:30 am when Phuket City Investigation Unit officers picked him up and transported him on the 7-hour journey back to Phuket to be prosecuted.

The incident started when a vendor posing as a customer had come into their shop asking about the price of shrimp which they argued intensely over until the shop owner suddenly realized that the person he was bickering with was another vendor. The shooter later admitted to police that he had often fought with other shrimp vendors as well as with his ex-wife. He left the market in a rage, returning from his home a short time later, assumedly to pick up his gun as he came back to the market and fired several shots before fleeing in his car.

Police report that he has not expressed remorse for those he killed and injured, and that a press conference would be forthcoming. For now, he remains in custody facing charges at the Phuket Provincial Court.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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    Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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