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Phuket drug arrest unveils shooting range ‘open door’ ammunition policy

Police say they have no action to take against a Phuket shooting range after it was discovered that an armed drug suspect acquired live rounds simply by “asking” for them.

The issue came to light after a team of Phuket Provincial Police officers led by Maj Ritthichai Chumchuay arrested Bannasorn “Beer” Tabpan, 34, from Tak Province, yesterday (June 5).

The raid, at about 3pm, was carried out after police received a tip-off that Bannasorn, who had previously been jailed on drugs charges, was back to taking drugs at his rented abode on Sakdidet Rd, south of Phuket Town.

Bannasorn was found in possession of two methamphetamine pills (ya bah) and 1.08 grams of crystal meth (ya ice).

He was also found in possession of an automatic handgun, 14 rounds of 9mm bullets, seven rounds of .38-calibre bullets.

Baannasorn confessed that all items belong to him, noted Maj Ritthichai in his report.

“He told police that he brought the drugs from a man he named only as ‘Mr Bang’, who he said was a resident in Rawai,” Maj Ritthichai said.

“Mr Bang left drugs under a tree opposite a motorbike repair shop on Kwang Rd,” he added.

Bannasorn also told officers that he bought the gun from an online shop via Facebook.

He added that he “asked” for the bullets from Kathu Phuket Shooting Range.

Col Akanit Danpitaksarn, a Deputy Commander and the Chief Investigator of the Phuket Provincial Police, told The Phuket News this morning (June 6), “We are looking into tracking down this ‘Mr Bang’ and we are certainly looking into this online gun shop selling firearms over the internet.”

However, regarding the live ammunition from a shooting range ending up in the hands of a drug suspect on Phuket’s streets, Col Akanit said, “There is no need to question Kathu Phuket Shooting Range further. Normal people can go to a gun range and buy bullets for use after their shooting session.

“If we have other suspicious issues, we will investigate them,” he added.

Meanwhile, Bannasorn was taken to Phuket City Police Station and charged with possession of Category 1 drug and illegal possession of firearm and ammunition without a permit.

Phuket News

 

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