A police senior sergeant-major has been arrested and his chief transferred in connection with the theft of about 90 guns from the Pak Kret district station in Nonthaburi where he was based.
Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chaowalit Phumkhachorn was apprehended on Thursday afternoon in Nong Khai where he had fled, national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas said.
Police investigators would fly to the northeastern province to take the suspect back to Nonthaburi to face legal action, he said.
The thefts from the Pak Kret station allegedly took place over a period of two years but were only disclosed recently, a police source said.
The Nonthaburi Provincial Court on Wednesday approved an arrest warrant for the officer.
Pol Col Phongchak Preechakarunpong, the Pak Kret chief, was transferred to the Provincial Police Region 1 operations centre pending the outcome of an investigation into weapons storage and disbursement at the station.
Prior to the transfer order, Pol Col Phongchak had called an urgent meeting of senior officers responsible for disbursement of official pistols from the station’s weapons storeroom. The exact number of stolen guns was not yet known.
Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chaowalit was tasked with disbursing materials at the station, including guns. He allegedly created fake documents showing that guns had been disbursed to officers at the station, according to Pol Gen Damrongsak.
“I have ordered officers in all areas to find as many of the stolen guns as possible,” the national chief said. “I want to warn those who bought or have those guns in their possession to immediately return them to the Pak Kret police station or they will face legal action.”
Officers detain Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chaowalit Phumkhachorn (in red shirt) following his arrest in Nong Khai in connection with the theft of guns from the Pak Kret station in Nonthaburi. (Photo supplied: Wassayos Ngamkham)