Pair held on charges of selling guns on Facebook

Police have arrested two men for allegedly selling homemade guns, many of them to technical college students and teenagers, on Facebook.

Twosuspects, Suriya Khoksombat, 25, sitting, left, and Withaya Chai-Auari, 32, sitting, right, are taken before reporters with the guns they allegedly produced and traded on Facebook. Themen were nabbed in Bangkok yesterday and taken to the Metropolitan Police Bureau. APICHART JINAKUL

The two suspects, Withaya Chai-Auari, 32, and Suriya Khoksombat, 25, were arrested in Bangkok yesterday.

An undercover police officer posing as a customer contacted Mr Withaya on the internet to buy weapons. Mr Withaya turned up for the meeting with the guns in Phahon Yothin Soi 55 and was immediately arrested, police said.

Police later searched his apartment in Bang Khen district and found a large quantity of firearms including a homemade Thai Pradit gun, a pen gun, two grenades and more than 100 rounds of ammunition.

Mr Withaya said he was the salesman, selling on Facebook weapons made by Mr Suriya, police said.

According to police, he told them he checked the backgrounds of potential customers before adding them to his list of friends and accepting firearms orders.

Police later arrested Mr Suriya at a house in Klong Sam Wa district, where gun-making equipment was also seized.

Mr Suriya is a highly-skilled gun maker, police said. The suspect said he repaired and re-conditioned homemade guns for a fee. He said he had made guns to order for seven months, selling them for between a few thousand baht to over 10,000 baht each.

His customers included many vocational college students and teens, and he had sold about 100 guns, police said.

Police superintendent Pol Col Thiwa Sophacharoen said Mr Suriya had set up his own Facebook page using an alias. He said police will try and recover sold guns and customers could face charges of possessing illegal firearms.

The pair were charged with the production and trading of firearms.