11 July 2024

A non-commissioned police officer, attached to Pak Kret district police in Nonthaburi Province, is in custody on theft charges for allegedly selling or pawning more than 100 handguns, which he had allegedly stolen from the district police’s store room over the past five years.

The officer, Chaowalit Pumkajorn, was arrested in the north-eastern province of Nong Khai yesterday (Thursday), as he tried to flee to into Laos, after an investigation implicated him in the disappearance of the weapons form Pak Kret police station’s arms storage facility.

He has been flown into Bangkok and was questioned by Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, deputy national police chief.

Surachate claimed that the suspect admitted to taking 2-3 guns at a time from the store room and then to making false statements to the effect that the weapons were distributed for use by officers at the station.

He also allegedly admitted that he had been doing so for the past five years and that the handguns were either sold or pawned at pawnshops, which he named, according to the deputy police chief, adding that he has instructed police to recover the weapons in question.

Pol Gen Surachate said that the case should serve a lesson for chiefs of police stations, who should check their gun inventories regularly.

Meanwhile, a bag, containing 27 handguns, was found in front of the police club, yesterday. The guns are initially believed to be part of the stolen haul being returned by their owners for fear of prosecution.