Violent Pattaya cop taken off streets

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Interfered with medics, shot Russian tourist

A Pattaya policeman with a history of violent behavior – including threatening paramedics during a recent rescue and accidentally shooting a Russian tourist in December – has been taken off the streets.

Pol. Sgt. Torntan Uasamart was jailed for three days in Koh Chan District then transferred to an inactive post in Chonburi following a Nov. 1 altercation with medics from the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation.

Pol. Sgt. Torntan Uasamart was jailed for three days in Koh Chan District then transferred to an inactive post in Chonburi.Pol. Sgt. Torntan Uasamart was jailed for three days in Koh Chan District then transferred to an inactive post in Chonburi.

Following his 30-day suspension, the officer will be reassigned to a desk job at Pattaya Police Station, said Pattaya Police Chief Pol. Col. Sukthat Pumpunmuang.

Torntan’s downfall came after 30 Sawang Boriboon volunteers filed a complaint with police around 1 a.m. Nov. 1, claiming that Torntan had aggressively followed them in his modified pickup truck as they were trying to rush an injured patient to Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.

Arriving at the medical center, the officer allegedly blocked the entrance and got out of his truck to physically threaten the rescuers. No motive for the altercation was given.

The following afternoon, crime-suppression division chief Pol. Lt. Col Sunan Buasingh called in the officer and the medics to settle the situation. During the meeting, Torntan apologized for his behavior. But that wasn’t the end of the matter.

Sukthat had deputy police chief Pol. Lt. Col. Pawatchai Sudsakorn file a report with the Royal Thai Police Office. The decision was then made to suspend the officer through the transfer to an inactive post and put him behind bars for three days.

The decision was based on Torntan’s history, which included a Dec. 14 incident in which he opened fire on two teenage bag snatchers near the Grand Condominium on Thepprasit Road, hitting a Russian tourist with a stray bullet.

Elena Sarycmeva, 27, suffered a single 9mm shot to her right ankle. Two parked trucks also were damaged in the police shooting spree.

The event began when police spotted two teenagers grab the Russian woman’s bag while driving a motorbike around 9 p.m. But when they refused to heed calls to stop, the police officers – unidentified at the time – started shooting, hitting both suspects, the Russian victim and the two vehicles.

Sukthat disclosed last week that Torntan was the officer responsible for shooting the tourist, but said he was protected at the time by a high-ranking officer.

His protection fell apart, however, after a subsequent incident when a Pattaya resident posted a photo of Torntan on Facebook showing him not wearing a helmet while riding a motorbike, questioning how he could then hand out tickets for not using helmets.

Torntan replied to the social-media posting by threatening the photographer, telling him he might no longer be able to live safely in Pattaya.

The police chief said that when Torntan is reinstated, he will be placed in a position where he can no longer get into altercations with the public or emergency workers.