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Fatal shootout with police

Man arrested reportedly was driving car carrying the hitman officers were pursuing

One of four men wanted after a shootout in Phatthalung in which a policeman and an alleged drug dealer were killed has been arrested in Songkhla.

A second policeman was wounded in the clash on Wednesday.

Pongsakorn Suwanmano, 22, was arrested in Ratthaphum district of Songkhla as officers from the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) and Police Region 9 raided several premises on Friday morning.

The shootout occurred at the Khao Chaison intersection in tambon Khok Muang of Khao Chaison district of Phatthalung, on Wednesday as officers closed in on a car they had been pursuing to arrest alleged hitman Jamras Rakchan, alias Chui Khaochan.

A man inside the car opened fire at them with an M16 rifle, police said.

Pol Snr Sgt Maj Anan Meesaeng was shot dead and Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chatchai Phantha-ou was wounded. The car drove off at high speed.

According to police, a total of four cars were involved in the incident but details were unclear.

A man in one of cars was also shot dead. He was identified later as Watchara Ratanasuwan, 47, who police said was involved in the drug trade.ad

One of the cars was found abandoned on Thursday at an oil palm plantation in Ratthaphum district of Songkhla, which is immediately south of Phatthalung.

National police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk flew to Songkhla on Friday to get a full briefing on the case.

Pol Gen Suwat and Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, the CIB commissioner, personally interrogated the arrested suspect. Mr Pongsakorn was reportedly driving the car involved in the clash.

According to police, Mr Pongsakorn confirmed that the man who opened fire at them was Mr Jamras.

Pol Gen Suwat told reporters that investigators had obtained arrest warrants for four people allegedly involved in the Phatthalung shooting.

Mr Jamras, Atthaphon Mai-on, 21, Kriangkrai Chaiphoon 27, and Mr Pongsakorn face charges of colluding in the killing of an officer performing his duty.

More arrest warrants would be issued if the investigation implicated other people, he said.

He said police had seized four cars, four weapons and ammunition in connection with the case so far.

Bangkok Post

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