'Detective' arrested after parked vehicles torched

'Detective' arrested after parked vehicles torched

The man is seen walking to his motorcycle after setting fire to a vehicle in Phan Thong district, Chon Buri, early Monday morning. (Photo captured from a video clip from Facebook user Chatchai Surin)
The man is seen walking to his motorcycle after setting fire to a vehicle in Phan Thong district, Chon Buri, early Monday morning. (Photo captured from a video clip from Facebook user Chatchai Surin)

CHON BURI: Police have arrested a man caught on video setting fire to several vehicles in Phan Thong district early on Monday morning.

The man appeared to be mentally disturbed. He was being tested for drug use and would undergo psychiatric evaluation, Pol Col Pasakorn Thunsap, chief of the Phan Thong police station, said.

The suspect told officers he was a plainclothes detective who was working on a pyramid scheme case. He had to set fire on the vehicles because he was upset by frequent criticism.

Local police were first informed that two cars were on fire on Suk Prayoon Road about 3.30am -- a silver Toyota Vios registered in Chon Buri and a green Toyota Altis registered in Bangkok.

Fire damaged the bonnets and engines of the cars. Firefighters took 20 minutes to put out the blaze.

While police were questioning Suchart Thadanukulwatana, the 68-year-old owner of the cars, they were informed that a gold coloured Toyota Altis registered in Bangkok was also on fire. It was parked in an alley beside Wat Nong Tamlueng. Firefighters took 30 minutes to extinguish the fire.

The vehicle was destroyed. Owner Charoen Meekhunthod, 50, said he had been parking there for a long time and he had no conflict with anyone.

About two kilometres away, a van and a pickup truck were set ablaze in a similar manner.

Surveillance camera footage showed a plump man with long hair pouring an inflammable liquid on the vehicles before lighting them. He was wearing a light coloured shirt and jeans and carrying a shoulder bag. The arsonist fled on a Honda Wave motorcycle.

Pol Col Pasakorn identified the suspect as Wasit Nantiwatpa, a 29-year-old native of tambon Mab Pong in Phan Thong district. 

Police also seized a motorcycle and a petrol container found in his possession.

Seven vehicles were set on fire in total, Pol Col Pasakorn said.


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