Sattahip village chief under investigation for assault, shooting

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A Sattahip village chief is out on bail after being arrested for pulling a gun on a Royal Thai Navy officer and firing multiple shots into the air.

Sombat “Pooyai Pae” Zupcharoen, headman for Bang Saray Moo 3, was taken into custody after the incident at the Ton-Orr massage parlor’s karaoke bar after midnight Nov. 20. He is being investigated for illegal possession of a firearm, threatening bar owners Manop Lerksanan and his wife Nitiya Taakhum, at gunpoint and firing multiple rounds into the night sky.

Sombat denied the charges, claiming he had simply passed outside the karaoke bar and tried to break up a disturbance inside by firing only one shot into the air. A joint navy-Sattahip Police committee is now investigating the incident.

Navy police break up the shooting and bring in Sombat “Pooyai Pae” Zupcharoen for questioning. Navy police break up the shooting and bring in Sombat “Pooyai Pae” Zupcharoen for questioning.

Manop said the incident began after Sombat and his son entered the karaoke bar late at night to assail him about public comments he allegedly made about the village chief and his real-estate dealings. The Naval Recruit Training Center officer said Sombat claimed people now refused to rent properties from him based on those comments.

An argument ensued and Sombat’s son allegedly kicked and punched him, causing him to fall. At that point, Manop alleged, the headsman pulled out a handgun, pointed at his head and his wife’s face and threatened their lives.

Sombat then allegedly stormed out of the karaoke bar and fired shots into the sky until a navy patrol officer drove by and put an end to the shooting.

With Sombat’s story varying so much from Manop’s the joint navy-police panel plans to interview the patrol officer to determine the true events.

Sattahip District Chief Chaichan Iamcharoen said this is not the first gun-related complaint tied to Sombat. However, he said, none of the prior alleged shooting incidents involved a victim. This time it does, Chaichan said, and if Sombat is found to be lying, he not only will face criminal charges, but be stripped of his village chief title.