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Police in Phuket are keeping an eye on teenagers who have been posting pictures of themselves on Facebook, describing themselves as gang members and in some cases posing with guns.
Many of them have elaborate tattooes, and guns and motorbikes seem to feature large among their interests. Another interest appears to be 4×100, the coctail made from cough mixture and banned krathom leaves, and favoured by teenagers are a starter narcotic.
Another page seen by The Phuket News is that of Pongsathorn Boonnak, who has posted a variety of pictures of himself posing with pistols.
It is impossible in either case to tell from the pictures whether the guns are real or replicas.
However, Provincial Police Commander Pol Maj Gen Patchara Boonyasit told The Phuket News today (January 12) that police monitor Facebook and other social media for crime tips.
“We identify some suspects from social media when they post about taking or dealing in drugs, or about guns. There is nothing illegal in them making or sharing such posts, but they provide us with trails of evidence to follow.
“Most of the people we catch because of posts on Facebook are people with illegal guns.”
The island’s police force even has its own social network experts. One who spoke with The Phuket News on condition of anonymity was cautious about revealing too much information but said she already knew about the two cases above, and about others.
“Phuket City police investigators already have information about them,” she said.
Phuket has suffered from frequent episodes of teen-on-teen gang violence, often involving deadly gunfights in high-speed motorbike chases.