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Doubts Raised in Chiang Rai Checkpoint Shooting Case, Who Really Fired the Fatal Shot



Pol Lt Gen Poonsap Sapprasert with Pvt Wanchai who’s facing four charges, including murdering Sornchai Sathitrakdamrong. Photo Khaosod.

CHIANG RAI – The case over the killing of a 34 year-old man at a Chiang Rai checkpoint has taken yet another twist as prominent lawyer Songkran Achariyasap has brought into question whether the soldier identified as the prime suspect in a recent fatal shooting is the real culprit or yet another scapegoat.

Prominent Lawyer Songkran Achariyasap, who also heads a group protecting the nations religion and monarchy – said photos of officials at the checkpoint did not reflect army private Wichai holding the type of gun used in the death of Sornchai Sathitrakdamrong on the night of January 2.

Saying “His name nor signature don’t even appear on the list of persons signing p to man the checkpoint on the night of the shooting.

Lawyer Songkran Achariyasap said the privates signature does not even appear on the list of persons signing in to man the checkpoint that night.

Provincial Police Region 5 chief Pol Lt-General Poonsap Prasertsak, insists that Wichai must have been the real culprit because he confessed to the crime. Saying “Wichai said he thought Sornchai intentionally refused to stop for a search and without thinking he just opened fire and his bullet killed Sornchai.”

However the police’s credibility comes into question after they first tried point the finger at assistant village head Wutthichai Injai saying he was responsible for the shooting, but ballistics results showed the deadly bullet came from another gun.

On January 5, assistant village head Wutthichai Injai was arrested for the deadly shooting as Police said witnesses saw Wutthichai shoot the gun that night at the vehicle, however Wutthichai insisted he fired tree shots into the sky.

On January 11th, test results showed the fatal bullet was fired from an M16 assault rifle, not a 9mm pistol that Wutthichai used.

Lt-General Poonsap said that even though Wutthichai shot into the sky, he still violated law as it’s illegal to fire a gun in public places.

Lawyer Songkran Achariyasap yesterday submitted photos and documents that could be used as evidence in the case to Deputy National Police Commissioner Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul to ensure that there will be no scapegoat in the case.

“In the photo are apparently also some senior military officers,” Songkran said.

Deputy National Police Commissioner Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said he would assign the Crime Suppression Division to join the investigation into the death.

“We will clear lingering doubts. We will go into details [about] who were at the checkpoint that night and how many guns were at the scene,” he said.

By Suriya Patathayo and Pathinya Srisupamart
This article also appears in The Nation