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Cop Killer Gunned Down by Police in Mae Chan District of Chiang Rai

Authorities examine the body of the drug suspect killed in a forest close to the Thai-Myanmar border in Mae Chan district of Chiang Rai on Friday. – Photo Chinpat Chaimon

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CHIANG RAI – A suspected drug trafficker was shot dead on Friday, a day after he allegedly killed a Chiang Rai police officer who was seeking to take him in for questioning.

The suspect was identified as Pornchai Srisawat, 39, of Chiang Rai, said Pol Maj Gen Poonsap Prasertsak, acting chief of Provincial Police Region 5.

Pornchai was killed after he opened fire on police and military officers in a forest near Dong Ma Tuen village in tambon Mae Rai of Mae Chan district on Friday morning.

The force comprised officers from the Chiang Rai Provincial Police, Mae Chan, Mae Sai and Mae Fa Luang police stations, the Border Patrol Police Company 327 and the 2nd Cavalry Regiment Task Force.

The manhunt followed the slaying of one police officer and the injury of another one officer at the Huean Phu View Resort in tambon Nang Lae of Muang district on Thursday.

The two officers had gone to the resort to question Pornchai, who was wanted on suspicion of drug trafficking. Police said that the when the suspect saw the officers he fled, and then opened fire when the pair started chasing him.

His shots killed Pol Capt Nopporn Yawirat of the Mae Chan police, and injured Pol Capt Yotdanai Chaiwong, deputy investigation inspector attached to the Chiang Rai Provincial Police.

Police later received a tip-off that Pornchai had fled on foot into a mountainous area along the Thai-Myanmar border and was lying low with a friend, identified as Woraphon Mayer, a 38-year-old resident of Dong Ma Tuen.

Pol Maj Gen Poonsap said the suspect was found walking in the forest, where authorities were hiding in wait.

When the officers called on him to stop, Pornchai opened fire on them, forcing officers to shoot him to protect themselves, Pol Maj Gen Poonsap said. Mr Woraphon was detained for questioning.

Investigators said Pornchai sustained several gunshot wounds. A 9mm pistol and four spent cartridges were also found near his body.

According to Pol Maj Gen Poonsap, Pornchai was wanted on an arrest warrant issued on Nov 30 last year in connection with sales of crystal meth and 500,000 methamphetamine pills.

Meanwhile in Chiang Mai Province accused drugs lord Lao Ta Saenlee and four other defendants rejected all charges against them when they were arraigned in court on Friday, retracting alleged confessions made under questioning.

Mr Lao Ta, 76, and his 66-year-old wife allegedly earlier confesed during questioning they had drugs in their possession for sale, while his 40-year-old son had admitted only to having a pistol, according to a statement presented to the court by the prosecutors.

Mr Lao Ta and his gang were caught in a police sting. Plainclothes police approached them, offering to pay 11 million baht for crystal methamphetamine, or ya ice. They were apprehended, allegedly making a delivery, at Lao Ta Petroleum petrol station, owned by the defendant.

Mr Lao Ta has beaten a previous drug case in the courts.  In 2007 the Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the two lower courts, which dismissed a case against him for lack of evidence.

By Chinpat Chaimon | Bangkok Post

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