CHIANGRAI TIMES – Police have launched a manhunt for a senior Kamphaeng Phet policeman charged with masterminding a 2 million baht van robbery. Chiang Rai police have set up checkpoints in a bid to catch Pol Col Pichit Kromprasit, superintendent of Sai Ngam police station, after he failed to surrender as scheduled yesterday.
Pol Maj Gen Surachet Topunyanont, chief of Chiang Rai police, said authorities detected Pol Col Pichit’s mobile phone signal near the Thai-Myanmar border in Chiang Rai province. However, he admitted someone else may have used the phone to mislead investigators.
Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said yesterday he believes Pol Col Pichit fled across the border to Myanmar, but did not give further details.
Two policemen have been charged in connection with the van robbery at Inburi Market in Sing Buri in March.
Pol Sgt Narai Thippreechathorn, attached to Nakhon Sawan police headquarters, allegedly supplied AK-47 rifles to three robbers, who have been arrested.
Pol Maj Gen Praset Karnrat, chief of Kamphaeng Phet police, has ordered a team to track down Pol Sgt Narai.
Investigators are looking into possible motives for the robbery, including position-buying.
Meanwhile, Pol Maj Gen Khamronwit Thoopkrajang, acting chief of Police Region 1 Bureau, has brushed aside accusations that officers might have given the suspects some help in their escape.
“We never said police were involved in the case until we had evidence to seek arrest warrants,” he said.
“If we wanted to help them, we would have done it from the beginning.”