Po­lice hunt ‘po­lit­i­cal hit­men’

Gun­men slay new party’s can­di­date


Po­lice are step­ping up ef­forts to ar­rest a group of gun­men who al­legedly shot dead an elec­tion can­di­date and his wife in a raid they sus­pect was po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated. The cou­ple’s two chil­dren nar­rowly es­caped be­ing hurt. Warin Saengchan was pre­par­ing to run for the newly es­tab­lished Thai Na­tion Power Party in this year’s poll. Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, at least two black-clad men raided Warin’s house in Moo 7 in Ka­bang dis­trict at about 9pm on Sun­day night. His wife, who was work­ing in front of the house, was not aware of their ar­rival be­cause they en­tered the build­ing from its back­yard. Warin and his five-year-old son were watch­ing tele­vi­sion when the at­tack­ers broke into his home. The in­trud­ers “talked about some­thing” with Warin but their di­a­logue soon de­scended into a quar­rel, which prompted his wife to en­ter the liv­ing room, of­fi­cers said. Her hus­band was tied up and shot. The gun­man also killed his wife, Rokiyo Sa­pae­ing, po­lice said. Their son man­aged to flee with his 16-year-old sis­ter. A po­lice in­spec­tion of their home found 11mm shell cas­ings from a pis­tol. Of­fi­cers from Ka­bang po­lice sta­tion and a spe­cial unit tasked with han­dling the south­ern in­sur­gency are jointly look­ing into the mur­der, said Ka­bang po­lice chief Pol Col Pray­ong Khot­sakha. In­ves­ti­ga­tors be­lieve Warin’s death stemmed from a con­flict he had be­come em­broiled in while pre­par­ing for the poll. Be­cause the in­ci­dent erupted in the in­sur­gency-torn prov­ince of Yala, the in­ves­ti­ga­tors were search­ing for any pos­si­ble links, the source said. Warin was a na­tive of Pat­tani’s Panare dis­trict but he moved to Ka­bang after he mar­ried. In a re­lated story, the chief of Na Pradu po­lice in Pat­tani’s Khok Pho dis­trict has been trans­ferred to an in­ac­tive post fol­low­ing a brazen at­tack on his po­lice sta­tion in broad day­light. One of his sub­or­di­nates was killed. The sta­tion’s sen­try post was stormed by a group of uniden­ti­fied men on Sun­day af­ter­noon who shot Pol Sgt Chaloem­phon Khomkham, 33. The in­ci­dent was con­sid­ered a case of “neg­li­gent” se­cu­rity mea­sures, and Na Pradu po­lice chief Am­phai Chum­chuai must take a re­spon­si­bil­ity, po­lice spokesman Pol Lt Piya Uthayo said, re­fer­ring to an or­der given by the Provin­cial Po­lice Re­gion 9 chief. The master­mind be­hind the at­tack is be­lieved to be the leader of the Runda Kumpu­lan Ke­cil (RKK) guer­rilla group. Po­lice have so far made seven ar­rests.

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