City man shot dead in taxi

A young Bangkok man was shot dead in a taxi on Friday night while his two vocational student friends were left injured.

Police have not established whether the dead man was a vocational school student but they say the incident may have been related to vocational school rivalries, which frequently turn violent in the capital.

Police said the shooting took place on outbound Phahon Yothin Road in front of Chatuchak market.

When they arrived on the scene, they found a taxi with its rear and side windows shot up. Next to the car was the body of Chakaphan Tang-ngarm, 20, lying on the sidewalk in a pool of blood. He had been shot three times in the back with .38-calibre bullets.

Investigators said two injured passengers had already been taken to Paolo hospital. They were later identified as Kittisak Chuenduang, 22, and Natthapon Namhakongthab, 22. Mr Kittisak had been shot once in the back while Mr Natthapon sustained bullet wounds to his back and left shoulder.

Kriangdej Khambutr, 51, the cab driver, told police that he had picked up the victims on Banthat Thong Road and was heading to Bang Kapi. On the way, all of them appeared restless and ordered him to go faster.

While the taxi was stopped at traffic light in heavy traffic on Phahon Yothin Road, four men on two motorcycles approached the taxi and opened fire.

According to a witness, the gunmen were dressed like vocational students. One of them got off a motorcycle and fired a .38 pistol six times at the taxi at close range. Afterward, they fled toward Vibhavadi Road.

Pol Col Suntorn Kong-glum, who is overseeing the investigation, said that the injured men were students of a well-known vocational school, but it was not clear yet whether the dead man was also a student.

The shooting was likely motivated by a school rivalry, he said. Officers are currently reviewing CCTV images from the scene in order catch the perpetrators.