Police searching Coconut Island for fresh market shooter

PHOTO: Police search for the market shooter, examining his abandoned car at the pier to Coconut Island. (via Phuket Police)

After a shooting spree at a fresh market in Phuket Town that left 2 people dead and 3 injured, the gunman phoned the police and announced his intention to confess to the crimes and turn himself in. But Maneenop Meethong, the 47-year old seafood vendor at the Phuket City Municipality Fresh Market 1, did not surrender to police and is now on the run with investigators hot on his trail.

Whether the man intended to turn himself in and changed his mind or used the phone call to the police as a ploy to buy himself some extra time to escape is unknown at this point, but police have tracked him since he fled the scene in his black Toyota Fortuner. He was seen on CCTV footage jumping onto a longtail boat that departed to Coconut Island. Police are now scouring the island for his whereabouts.

Police did uncover more details about the bizarre shooting and the motives behind it after talking to the man’s wife who provided some backstory. Authorities had speculated that the shootout was due to conflict between vendors, and the actual reasoning was just as petty as feared.

The man’s wife said that a customer had come into their shop asking about the price of shrimp, and the shop owner had quoted them 300 baht per kilogrammes. The customer said that the price was too high and they were arguing intensely when the shop owner suddenly realized that the person he was bickering with was another vendor in the market pretending to be a customer.

He left the market in a rage returning from his home a short time later, assumedly to pick up his gun as he returned and fired several shots before fleeing in his car. Police tracked the car’s movement to Koh Kaew where he abandoned it at Laem Hin Pier. investigators use forensics to identify fingerprints and determine that it was his car that he was driving.

The car will be impounded and moved to the Phuket Town police station by forklift for further investigation. Meanwhile, the police have already uncovered the 35 year old owner of the longtail boat that the market shooter made his escape in to Coconut Island where police are still investigating and searching to determine his whereabouts and take him into custody.

3 of the victims of his shootings remain in the hospital getting medical care for their bullet wounds, while 2 others, including an owner of a neighbouring shop, died yesterday from gunshot wounds.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Neill Fronde

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.