The news comes as Col Teeraphol Thipjaroen, Chief of the Phuket Provincial Police, announced today (June 11) that with L/Cpl Wongsathon’s death, the investigation into the deaths of the two police officers who opened fire at each other closed.
Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Peerayuth Karajadee confirmed today that he received formal notification of L/Cpl Wongsathon’s death at 12:40pm.
Col Peerayuth declined reveal any further details of the deadly shootout between the two police officers.
“The investigation is ongoing. We need to question all people at the scene who may be witnesses to the incident,” Col Peerayuth said.
“Officers will question Sen Sgt Maj Nattachai Phonoy of the Phuket Immigration Police at Phuket International Airport, who had an altercation with L/Cpl Wongsathon and was injured prior to the shooting,” he added.
L/Cpl Wongsathon was shot three times by Lt Thamarong Suwanchatree of the Phuket City Police after Lt Thamarong approached him to enquire about a shot L/Cpl Wongsathon had just fired into the air, near the Seahorse Circle in Phuket Town at about 12:30am today.
L/Cpl Wongsathon fired the odd, angry shot after an altercation with yet another Royal Thai Police officer, Sen Sgt Maj Nattachai Phonoy of the Phuket Immigration Police, who had refused L/Cpl Wongsathon and his friends entry to a local pub as they were unable to present identification.
Sen Sgt Maj Nattachai Phonoy was moonlighting as a security guard at the Haopan pub when the incident occurred.
Witnesses reported that when Lt Thamarong, who was having dinner with friends in a restaurant nearby, approached L/Cpl Wongsathon, the junior officer opened the door to his pickup and fired once directly into Lt Thamarong, delivering a fatal shot that killed Lt Thamarong.
However, Phuket Police Chief Col Teeraphol announced today that the investigation into the shootout was now closed.
“We will no longer investigate any wrongdoing between the two men who have now died, but the investigation into the other aspects of the case will continue,” Col Teeraphol said.
However, Col Teeraphol praised the work ethic of Lt Thamarong. “He never stopped working. He did not neglect his duty as a police officer, even when he was off-duty,” he said.
“This incident happened because of bad tempers, and bad tempers led to violence. This happens anywhere in the world, and police are not exempt,” he said.
The decision to not pursue any charges for the fatal shootings between the two police officers comes just 18 days after police posthumously charged an 18-year-old Rohingya man with attempted murder after he was shot dead by an immigration police officer.
The Rohingya man, named by police as “Mohammadkhawnee”, was charged with attempted murder after he was shot dead by Phang Nga Immigration officer Snr Sgt Maj Thinakon Noosawas. Snr Sgt Maj Thinakon claims the he fired in self-defence after Mohammadkhawnee started throwing large rocks downhill at him. (See story here).
Meanwhile, a funeral service for Lt Thamarong at Wichit Sangkaran Temple on Narisorn Rd in Phuket Town began this afternoon.
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