Banglamung police said officers followed proper procedures when trying to capture a drug-suspect, even though he killed a person while trying to flee.
Prasert Ludkratum, 66, was struck directly by a Mitsubishi Triton driven by Tanongsak Himakun, 40, on Nong Maikaen Road in front of the Tung Kom Tan Man Health Station Jan. 23. Three others, including Prasert’s 13-year-old grandson, were injured.
Banglamung deputy police chief Pol. Lt. Col. Nattakorn Mongkolmaha said the department regrets that the sting operation ended in death and injury to innocent people, but denied that officers trying to arrest Tanongsak and his girlfriend didn’t follow proper procedures.
Allegedly a major drug dealer in the Pattaya area, Tanongsak and girlfriend Supattra Phomruksa, 36, were delivering 300 grams of crystal methamphetamine to undercover narcotics officers at the Chak Nok Reservoir.
When the couple arrived at the scene, Supattra exited the truck to exchange the drugs for cash while Tanongsak waited in the vehicle. But when hiding police sprung to arrest the air, Tanongsak left his girlfriend behind and sped off, eventually crashing into motorbikes, cars and a food vendor’s cart.
Nattakorn said Tanongsak was able to escape the scene because he crashed his truck into a police car, disabling it. Other officers pursued and allegedly shot out his tires, causing the crash. But the deputy chief said a subsequent investigation showed that officers actually shot into the air, not the tires.
The fact that those dangerous aerial bullets eventually had to come down somewhere was not addressed.
Banglamung police chief Pol. Col. Pattanachai Pamornpiboon on Saturday visited 13-year-old grandson Supagorn Ludkratum in the hospital, offering a gift basket to boost his spirits.
Pattanachai also said police would cover all medical and funeral expenses for those killed and injured.
Finally, the chief acknowledged that, in future sting operations, there should be more officers on scene to prevent this week’s carnage from reoccurring.