CHIANG RAI – A Village Tambon Headman and his 3-year old son were seriously injured but his wife and a 5-year daughter were killed by a group of gunmen as they were traveling home in a pickup truck in Wiang Kaen district of Chiang Rai on Tuesday evening (April 24).
The two victims, identified as Mrs Maiyear Wongnapapaisarn and Chayaporn Yodmaneebanpot, 5, died in the vehicle after gunmen opened fire with AK47 assault rifles into the pickup truck driven by the kamnan, Mr Thaweesak Yodmaneebanpot, headman of Tambon Por.
Mr Thaweesak, also chairman of the Hmong Association of Thailand, sustained gunshot wound on his right arm while his son, Chaimongkon, 3, was wounded in the left leg.
Mr Thaweesak and his family were travelling together in their pickup truck on road from Ban Romfathong to Ban Pa Tang for home while the gunmen, riding in another pickup truck gave chase and opened fire.
Investigators said there were many footprints on the road, indicating the gunmen spent time choosing their ambush site beforehand. They had hidden in forest on a hill slope to the left of the vehicle.
It appeared the pickup truck had stopped when it was attacked and then reversed for about 15 metres. The gunmen had continued to fire at the truck, bringing it to a halt.
The injured and the dead victims were later rushed to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospital by passers-by who came across the shooting incident.
Wiang Kaen district chief officer, Mr Kamson Sripo, praised Mr Thaweesak as a strict law enforcer, especially against illegal drug trade which could be the motive for the fatal gun attack.
Pol Gen Chalermkiart Sriworakhan, the deputy police chief, on Wednesday (April 25) inspected the crime scene and later met with local police for a briefing of the shooting incident.
No motive for the attack has been determined, but police said they were investigating a possible business conflict.