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Manhunt Intensifies for Rogue Police Gunman in Southern Thailand

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Manhunt Intensifies for Rogue Police Gunman in Southern Thailand

On Saturday, police in southern Thailand investigated a reservoir and adjoining forest in Surat Thani after receiving information that an rouge officer wanted for a deadly attack in this southern province was hiding in the region.

Two further warrants have been issued for the arrest of Pol Snr Sgt Maj Atthaporn Wichian, 46, of the Khirirat Nikhom police station on murder allegations.

On Saturday morning, more than 100 police investigators and Surat Thani special task force officers were dispatched to the Ratchaprapa dam, also known as the Cheow Lan dam, in tambon Khao Phang. All roads and forest pathways leading to the dam, a famous tourist attraction, were checked.

According to Provincial Police Region, officers had collected information indicating that the sought guy was hiding in the area.

On the evening of April 8, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Atthaporn led a group of highly armed men into his father-in-law’s residence in Khirirat Nikhom.

Thammarong Nilniyom, 60, his wife Nilthip Palakachen, 49, Pornsak Phetchu, 56, and Thammarat Wichian, 48, were all killed. The latter, one of the gunmen and the lead suspect’s elder brother, was believed to have been killed by one of the victims.

Two more persons were later found shot dead: Atthapol Wichian, 25, Atthaporn’s son from a former wife, and his new wife Panida Nilniyom, 34, the only daughter of the killed Thammarong.

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On April 9, Atthapol, who was engaged in the initial attack, was discovered dead inside a car parked at a temple in Ban Ta Khun where burial rites for his uncle Thammarat — the key suspect’s deceased brother — were being held. He had his hands tied and had been shot in the right temple.

Panida was discovered dead the next day at a resort in Khirirat Nikhom district’s tambon Tha Khanon. She’d taken a bullet to the mouth.

Manop Wang-ngan, 57, was later apprehended by police in Phangnga province’s Thap Put district. He was seized after allegedly confessing to his involvement in the attack.

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Surat Thani police commander Pol Maj Gen Saranyu Chamnarnrat said on Saturday that authorities searched housing at the Ratchaprapa dam and surrounding regions for the key suspect.

He and Surat Thani governor Witchawut Jinto visited with local leaders in the districts of Khirirat Nikhom, Ban Ta Khun, and Phanom to request cooperation in identifying the culprit.

On Saturday, the Surat Thani provincial court issued two further arrest warrants for Pol Snr Sgt Maj Atthaporn in connection with the deaths of his son and wife, Panida.

An earlier warrant sought his arrest on counts of murder, illegal weapon ownership, and carrying firearms and ammunition in public without a valid purpose. The incident was thought to be motivated by a quarrel between Pol Snr Sgt Maj Atthaporn and his father-in-law.

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