Two of seven arms buyer suspects released on bail

Two of seven arms buyer suspects released on bail

An EOD officer shows the grenade found in an undelivered parcel left at private courier shop in Bang Khen district of Bangkok on June 2, 2017. (Photo supplied by Royal Thai Police)
An EOD officer shows the grenade found in an undelivered parcel left at private courier shop in Bang Khen district of Bangkok on June 2, 2017. (Photo supplied by Royal Thai Police)

The Criminal Court has approved the first round of detention of seven arms buyer suspects, two of whom have been allowed bail.

Crime suppression police took Sitthichai Thongchuea, Kasemsuk Namsri, Natthapol Yooyued, Natthapong Thongkhamphan, Saksith Chanthab, Prachidchai Sudsakul and Pol L/Cpl Krittipas Yimlamai to the court on Saturday morning to seek permission to detain them for 12 days to June 21.

The police, claiming they needed to question 10 more witnesses and to wait for the examination results of evidence, opposed their bail, citing flight risks.

The seven men were charged with buying and having in possession bullets and explosives of which permits cannot be issued.

The seven men allegedly bought over the internet M16 bullets, as well as MK2 and M67 grenades, from Sgt Thanaporn Boonyakarn of the 1st Engineer Battalion King's Guard and six other soldiers, who have been separately tried and detained by the Military Court.

The six seller suspects are of the ranks ranging from lieutenant to private. They had already been charged with stealing state assets, illegitimately performing or refraining from performing duties and buying or having in possession bullets and explosives of which permits cannot be issued.

The soldiers reportedly sent the bullets and grenades by Kerry Express (Thailand) mail service to the suspects before they were arrested with the evidence.

Mr Kasemsuk allegedly bought two each of MK2 and M67 grenades while the others each ordered 100-200 M16 bullets, according to police reports.

Four of the buyer suspects -- Mr Prachidchai, Mr Natthapong,  Pol L/Cpl Krittipas and Mr Natthapol -- sought bail. The court approved the bail for the former two for a surety of 300,000 baht each. It did not approve the bail for the latter two, saying their surety lacked credibility.

The five suspects were therefore detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison.

A total of 17 suspects were involved in this case -- seven army soldiers who allegedly were the sellers, and one police official and nine civilians who reportedly were the buyers. The remaining three suspects were in custody in the provinces and will be sent to Bangkok later.

The crime was first reported on June 2, when heavy parcels left idle at a Kerry shop on Phanon Yothin Road were opened by staff after they could not be delivered for a while. 

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