Pubdate: Thu, 26 Jul 2012
Source: Bangkok Post (Thailand)
Copyright: The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. 2012


Police Think Attack Was to Avenge Key Arrests

YALA : Five policemen were killed by a car bomb in Raman district 
Wednesday, in an attack which authorities believe was in retaliation 
for recent drug suspect arrests.

The bomb exploded Wednesday afternoon as a pickup truck, carrying six 
drug suppression officers led by Pol Lt Sutham Onthong, was 
approaching a canal by the Wang Phaya-U Po road in Ban Buke Yaera, police said.

The blast killed Pol Lt Sutham and four of his subordinates _ Pol Snr 
Sgt Maj Waeuseng Waedeng, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chakkrit Chaisali, Pol Sgt 
Natthaphong Bunkomon and Pol Sgt Wichanon Namphakdi.

The force of the explosion hurled the pickup truck into the canal.

Another officer, Pol Sgt Prasoet Rotkun, was seriously injured.

According to investigators, the bomb was hidden in a 50-kg gas 
cylinder placed in a stolen pickup parked near the canal. They also 
found spent cartridges left by the attackers who sprayed bullets at 
the victims following the explosion.

They made off with the officers' hand guns and M16 and HK assault 
rifles, police said.

Investigators believe the bombing was carried out by a group of 
insurgents and suspected bomb maker, Phaisol Hayisamaae, a cousin of 
Sobri Hayisamaae who was recently arrested by police on drug changes.

Mr Sobri and another man in police custody, Aliya Waekalisong, are 
accused of drug trafficking in Raman district.

Police suspect Wednesday's bombing was in reprisal for their arrest.

In Narathiwat, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha apologised to residents 
in Sungai Kolok district Wednesday for the army's failure to prevent 
the bomb attack which wounded eight people on Friday.

Gen Prayuth said during a visit to Sungai Kolok that he accepts sole 
responsibility for the attack and vowed to improve security.

Early last month, he told security forces to be on alert for possible 
attacks during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The Sungai Kolok 
blast occurred on the first day.

The bomb, packed in a gas cylinder in a stolen pickup truck, exploded 
in front of Pro Computer and OA Thailand Co, an electronics retailer, 
setting the company building and nearby homes ablaze. After returning 
to Bangkok Wednesday, Gen Prayuth promised to put in a request for 
30,000 surveillance cameras to be installed in insurgent-plagued 
areas, including Sungai Kolok district.

The cameras may help ease pressure on soldiers who have to patrol 
these areas day and night, he said.

In a separate development, police seized 200,000 methamphetamine 
pills and arrested seven suspected traffickers in separate busts in 
Bangkok and Yala.

Kanchit Kamfaeng, 29, Sirichai Kanongsilp, 34, Suchart Phuengkong, 
49, Saravoot Lohprasit, 29, and Jessada Rodkul, 21, were arrested 
with 176,013 methamphetamine pills and 510.8 grammes of crystal 
methamphetamine or "ice" in a Bangkok suburb on Tuesday.

Pol Maj Gen Surapol Thuanthong, deputy commissioner of the Narcotics 
Suppression Bureau, said the suspects were small-time traffickers who 
kept the drugs and delivered them to peddlers in the Bang Chak area 
of Bangkok. They allegedly earned 5,000 baht per delivery.

In the southern province of Yala, police arrested Sobri Hayisama-ae 
and Aliya Yaekalisong, both 25, with 39,200 methamphetamine pills, a 
shotgun and an assault rifle in their possession on Monday.

Both suspects are from tambon Noen Ngam of Raman district. Mr Sobri 
is a cousin of Faisal Hayisama-ae, who is suspected of carrying out 
bomb attacks at many locations in the far South, including at Hat Yai 
airport in 2005.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom