Chiangrai Times – Tatchapol Pansilp the owner of Virgin internet shop has accused two local reporters of attempted murder, assault and extortion after they allegedly raided an internet shop in Muang district, claiming to be police.
Tatchapol Pansilp said “Two men entered his shop, located in downtown Chiang Rai, about 3am and started assaulting the staff, damaging computers and vehicles and firing gunshots into the air”.
The fake cops had come to inspect his game shop and claimed that he was allowing children play past the legal time limit. But the men negotiated to overlook the offense in return for Mr. Phansil paying them 2,000 to 3,000 THB a month
Mr. Phansil refused to pay, so the group of men returned on a later date at night. The store employees called Mr. Phansil to inform him that the group of men had come to the shop again.
When Mr. arrived at the shop, the men threw objects in the shop at his body, and began punching him. They then pointed the gun at him to threaten him. They had seized the key of his motorbike when the police arrived.
The incident was recorded by surveillance cameras and the footage has been widely circulated on the internet. The video shows two men in black and grey T-shirts striking a female shop worker in the face. The assailants try to hit another man, push over motorcycles in front of the shop and point a handgun at someone as he is driving away.
Mr Phansil said he and other internet shop operators in the province had been extorted by the men before.
Muang Chiang Rai police arrested Chaichumpoo, 32, and Theerawat Khamthita, 41, both are local reporters. Mr Theerawat has worked as a stringer for Channel 7, the Bangkok Post and Post Today newspapers.
Muang Chiang Rai police investigator Sakarin Burikaew said the men have been charged with carrying a weapon and firing it in a public area.
The suspects were later released on bail, Pol Lt Sakarin said.
Mr. Phansil said about an hour after the two men were released, he received a phone call from an unknown person who told him to drop the charges against the suspects.
But Mr. Phansil didn’t consent, and will fight for justice as much as possible. He also knew that the men have also tried to extort money from other Chiang Rai shops. – Anna Wong CRT
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