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The immigration police officer who fatally shot a Rohingya man on the run after escaping the Immigration Centre in Phang Nga on Monday will face an investigation for murder, The Phuket News has been told.
“I want to confirm that regarding the incident of one Rohingya man killed during the pursuit, investigation officers are on this case will follow law and order,” said Col Chote Chitchai, Deputy Superintendent of the Phang Nga Provincial Police.
“We will file a complaint against the officer who shot the migrant. However, we will have to wait until we question all witnesses, before we can make any statement about whether or not the shooting incident was an act of self-defense,” he said.
Phang Nga Police Capt Chatree Peinkhayai named the officer involved in the shooting as Phang Nga Immigration officer Snr Sgt Maj Thinakon Noosawas.
“Officers had pursued a group of escapees into the hills in Baan Tham Nam Phud on Monday (May 23), and while Mohammadkhawnee was uphill on a steep slope from the officer, he picked up large rocks and tossed them down at Snr Sgt Maj Thinakon,” Capt Chatree explained.
“Snr Sgt Maj Thinakon fired once in what he said was self-defense. The shot hit Mohammadkhawnee once in his right armpit,” he added.
Capt Chatree did not elaborate on whether Mohammadkhawnee died at the scene, en route to Phang Nga Hospital or later at the hospital.
The alarm was raised at 3am on Monday, when guards at the centre noticed that bars on the windows of a second-floor cell had been cut.
The escapees broke into two groups, with 15 heading down a canal which joins Phang Nga Bay and another six fleeing into the hills, where the fatal shooting occurred.
Despite mixed reports on the number of escapees still at large, Lt Col Janepob Butkinaree, Deputy Superintendent of Phang Nga Town Police, today confirmed that six Rohingya had yet to be recaptured.
Following the capture of three escapees – and the killing of Mohammadkhawnee – police at 7pm on Monday captured eight more migrants.
On Tuesday morning (May 24), police caught three more, leaving six fugitives on the run.
Capt Chatree said that the 21 migrants broke out of the detention centre by sawing through wire mesh with hacksaw blades likely left behind by careless plumbers who had recently repaired plumbing in the facility.
“They probably left the tools around after the work was completed. It was recklessness by officers and the maintenance workers,” he said.