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Police Killers Surrender After Manhunt in Southern Thailand

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SURAT THANI – Two drug trafficking suspects surrendered to police on Friday, a day after shooting and killing police officer and then running him over while escaping the scene in his car in in Phrasaeng district of Surat Thani province.

Surachate Wanluea, 24, escorted by his relatives, turned himself in to Police Col Dussadee Hiranrat, chief of the Phrasaeng district police station, on Friday after police intensified the hunt for him and another suspect.

Police Officers said Mr Surachate denied firing shots at police who tried to arrest him, but admitted he drove a car over one of the officers as he tried to escape. However, he lost control of the vehicle, which plunged into a roadside ditch.

Police and forensic officers on Friday examine the scene of the failed drug sting where a policeman was kiled in Ban Ta Khun district of Surat Thani on Thursday night. (Photo by Supapong Chaolan)

Police Maj Gen Apichart Boonsriroj, the Surat Thani police chief, said Mr Surachate insisted he had not intended to hit the officer.

The incident occurred on an uphill road in Ban Pak Suad village of tambon Phrasaeng in Ban Ta Khun district about 9pm, when a team of undercover police were taking delivery of drugs from one of two suspected traffickers who had arrived in a silver Honda City sedan.

As police moved in to arrest them, the driver in the car fired gunshots at the officers.

Police Sen Sgt Maj Poonkrit Buakaeo, a 46-year-old native of Nakhon Si Thammarat province, was hit and fell to the ground.

The gunman, alleged to be Mr Surachate, then drove the car over the fallen policeman before fleeing the scene with his accomplice, the Bangkok Post reported.

The second suspect, Wanchai Chainarong, 28, surrendered to local police on Friday in Phrasaeng district.

Former village head Charoen Muenintor contacted Police Maj Gen Apichart Boonsriroj, the Surat Thani police chief, to arrange the surrender of Mr Wanchai, who was his nephew.

The suspect had fled to take refuge at a temple, about 5 kilometers from the scene of the attack.

Mr Surachate and Mr Wanchai surrendered on Friday, a day after the killing of a police officer in Surat Thani, Thailand.

The Surat Thani provincial court on Friday issued warrants for the arrest of Mr Surachate and Mr Wanchai for colluding in the murder of a police officer on duty, obstructing officers, possessing illicit drugs with intent to sell, illegal possession of firearms and carrying them in a public place.

Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Chalermkiart Srivorakhan flew to Surat Thani on Friday to interrogate Chakkraphat Na Thalang, another accused member of the same drug gang who was arrested earlier.

Pol Lt Gen Pongwut Pongsri, chief of Provincial Police Region 8, offers his condolences to the family of the officer who died on duty.

Pol Gen Chalermkiart, representing the Royal Thai Police Office, donated 375,000 baht to the children of Pol Sen Sgt Maj Poonkrit.

The Police officer and his wife On-anong Buakaeo had two sons. Ronkarit is a first-year law student and Krittaporn is in Mathayom Suksa 5.

The RTPO is preparing to give another 2.5 million baht to the officer’s family, and to posthumously promote Pol Sen Sgt Maj Poonkrit to the rank of police major and recruit one of his children to the force.

Police Lt Gen Pongwut Pongsri, chief of Provincial Police Region 8, led senior officers to attend the bathing rite for the fallen officer in Phibun district of Nakhon Si Thammarat on Saturday.

A royally sponsored cremation ceremony for the officer will be held at Wat Srimaram in Phibun district.

By The Bangkok Post