Cars stolen in audacious holdup, rigged as bombs

Cars stolen in audacious holdup, rigged as bombs

The remains of one of the stolen pickups burn on the side of the road after it was rigged with explosives and detonated in Nong Chik district, Pattani, on Wednesday. (Photo from @phayainsea2013 Twitter account)
The remains of one of the stolen pickups burn on the side of the road after it was rigged with explosives and detonated in Nong Chik district, Pattani, on Wednesday. (Photo from @phayainsea2013 Twitter account)

Armed robbers stole five pickup trucks and took four hostages from a second-hand car dealership in Songkhla’s Na Thawi district in broad daylight on Wednesday.

One of the pickups was quickly converted into a car bomb, which later exploded harmlessly near Yabee bridge in tambon Yabee of Nong Chik district of neighbouring Pattani.

Three of the other vehicles were recovered. One of them was also rigged with explosives.

Police were searching for the remaining vehicle, which they feared would be used for a car bombing in one of the southernmost provinces.

Seven men wearing black and armed with guns held up the Wangto Car Centre in Na Thawi district around 11am. They left with five stolen pickup trucks and four hostages, heading towards Pattani province. 

Two of the hostages were shot and wounded but the other two managed to escape, in tambon Wang Yai in Thepa district of Songkhla.

The wounded hostages, identified as Saharat Laeni and Prathanporn Nuanlamun, were being treated in hospital. The other two were the car centre's owner, Thanasak Yichin, and employee Jirasak Rattanaphan.

Around 2pm, one of the stolen vehicles was reportedly driven through a checkpoint in Nong Chik district. Police chased the vehicle, firing shots at it. The pickup swerved off the road and came to a halt. The driver was killed.

Bomb disposal officers examined the vehicle and found a 15 kilogramme gas cylinder packed with explosives inside it. It was defused.

Another of the stolen pickups was found abandoned on Highway 42 in Thepa district, where it had run out of fuel.

About 3.25pm another of the trucks was found abandoned in tambon Khuan Nori of Khok Pho district of Pattani, also out of fuel.

Authorities were searching for the fifth vehicle, which they feared will be used as a car bomb.


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