Market vendors face charges after attacking police


Pattaya police say they will bring charges against members of a mob that attacked a group of plainclothes officers investigating counterfeit merchandise sales at the Grand Hall Market.

Deputy suppression chief Pol. Lt. Col. Kwanpichai Manochareonsap, Pol. Capt. Raphipong Sarathi and two other officers sustained injuries requiring stitches in the July 4 brawl with vendors at the South Pattaya market. They were treated and released from Banglamung Hospital.

Police arrived at the market to find the battered and bleeding officers surrounded by 30-40 people. After managing to extricate the officers from the mob, the group blocked their escape in a truck and again began attacking the police.

When undercover police allegedly attempted to confiscate what they claimed was counterfeit goods, vendors fought back and a brawl ensued.When undercover police allegedly attempted to confiscate what they claimed was counterfeit goods, vendors fought back and a brawl ensued.

The fracas began after Kwanpichai led a group of seven plainclothes officers to arrest several vendors allegedly selling knockoff sunglasses and watches.

Kwanpichai claimed that, while doing so, he was approached by market owner Supaklit “Hia Jua” Akalertlap, 61, who demanded to know what police organization he worked with. After telling Supaklit that he was from the Pattaya Police Station, Kwanpichai said the market owner punched him in the face, setting off the melee.

After turning himself in to police July 5, Supaklit told a different story on what ensued the day before.

The market owner said he began questioning Kwanpichai after a vendor complained there were men posing as police and trying to take them into custody for selling sunglasses. He found a group of men dressed in jeans and t-shirts, but with no badge and refusing to show any identification. He assumed they were fake officers.

He said that when Kwanpichai did pull out his ID, he kept his fingers over part of it, masking who he worked for. Supaklit said he tried to grab the card from the officer’s hand, which set off the fight.

Vendor Nampol Sartthrakhu also complained that the officers refused to show any sort of identification, yet tried to arrest him for selling fake sunglasses. He claimed one of the undercover men put him in a headlock while others starting taking his merchandise, some of which was genuine. Thus the fight ensued.

Pol. Col. Anukul Preedayut said Supaklit and others involved could be charged for assaulting police, which carries a jail term of five years and a fine of 10,000 baht.

Because Supklit turned himself in, he likely would not be charged, Anukul said, but others who have not surrendered will be investigated.