Cambodian arrested following shooting death of police volunteer

Friday, 20 July 2012 From Issue Vol. XX No. 29 By  Theerarak Suthathiwong

Police have arrested one of eight suspected Cambodian motorbike thieves wanted in connection with the shooting death of a Banglamung police volunteer in Takientia.

Sa Wan, 22, was apprehended as he bought food in a Takientia market June 12. He is alleged to be one of 11 illegal migrants who have been stealing motorbikes from area villages and selling them to border agents in Srakaew for up to 5,000 baht each. Police claim the gang has stolen more than 100 vehicles already and that Sa was responsible for keeping the group stocked with food and beverages.

It’s unknown, however, whether Sa was present the day before when armed police volunteer Sirichai Siripitoon, 31, was shot and killed while investigating the thieves’ camp at a cassava plantation in the hills above Nawang-Pongsaket Road.

The body of Sirichai, a 38-caliber pistol still in his hand, was discovered near the gunshot-riddled corpses of two alleged thieves. The unidentified Cambodian victims were both armed with 9 mm handguns and small explosives.

Takientia Sheriff Monthien Bunkrajang said he’d asked Sirichai to accompany him to investigate the camp after receiving reports the suspected bike thieves were hiding there. He told Chonburi police investigators they encountered five men who opened fire on them. Monthien said he and Sirichai returned fire in self-defense.

It’s unknown whether Monthien or Sirichai shot dead the two Cambodians.

Because police volunteers have not gone through proper police training, which can and sometimes will end in unfortunate situations such as that which ended Sirichai’s life, police volunteers, by law, are supposed to be unarmed.

Three of the five men at the camp fled and all of the remaining suspects are believed to be still in the area.

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