Banglamung police shoot dead suspect in March gang assassination

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A suspected drug dealer wanted in the shooting death of a Naklua gang leader died after being shot four times in a gun battle with Banglamung police.

Nirut Yusabai sustained shots to the head, abdomen and arm in the shootout late April 12 near Tontrakok Temple in Takientia.

Nirut was lured to the site by Banglamung police who used informants to set up a drug buy. The suspected dealer agreed to exchange two grams of crystal methamphetamines for a gun to add to his large collection, police said.

Nirut quickly realized the buy was a setup and fired a 11mm round at police, who returned fire, killing him.

Authorities said it was unusual for Nirut to participate in a drug sale himself, but speculated that the lure of obtaining another gun made him push aside his minions.

Nirut was the prime suspect in the March 18 assassination of Anuwath “U Naklua” Nilpothong, who was shot a half-dozen times during an ambush in a wooded area near Soi Nongyai 3.

Nirut’s relative, Viroj Yuusabai, 47, was arrested the day after the shooting. He is accused of hiding in the jungle until Anuwath came by, then firing eight shots, hitting him 5-6 times in the chest as he sat on a Honda Wave motorbike. The victim later died at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.

Police said witnesses reported that Anuwath had two days earlier transferred 100,000 baht to Viroj’s bank account for a purchase of methamphetamine tablets. Viroj, however, couldn’t deliver and the Naklua gang leader angrily demanded his money back. When no refund was offered, a gun fight was threatened. Viroj allegedly stuck first.

Although not mentioned at the time, Nirut was alleged to have been in on the shooting.