NARATHIWAT: A villager was killed and a former defence volunteer badly wounded in a gun attack at a local tea shop in Rangae district in the early hours of Saturday.
Police and soldiers were deployed to the tea shop in tambon Chalerm after being reported about the gun attack at around 2.25am, said Pol Col Surapong Chartsut, chief of Rangae police.
They found a dead man, identified later as Mahamasuekree Leetalae, 53, lying in a pool of blood near a table. He sustained a gunshot wound to his chest and died on the spot.
Next to him, Yalaning Samae, 32, owner of the tea shop and former defence volunteer, was seriously injured with two gunshot wounds to his right chest and his left leg. He was rushed to a local hospital before being transported to Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Hospital.
Officers found five spent AK cartridges scattered around the shop and one spent 9mm cartridge near the wall.
A police investigation found that Mr Yalaning was drinking tea at his shop before an unknown number of assailants came to his shop and opened fire from AK rifles.
One bullet hit him in the left leg, but the former defence volunteer ran to a table where 3-4 villagers were drinking tea. The armed men then sprayed bullets at Mr Yalaning, but one bullet hit Mr Mahamasuekree in the chest. The panicked villagers hid under the table.
Mr Yalaning pulled out his pistol to fire back to prevent the assailants from firing him again. The attackers later fled in the darkness.
Pol Col Surapong said police had yet to establish the cause of the attack. They were looking into a personal conflict over illicit drug trade and the ongoing southern unrest as possible motives.
Mr Yalaning had been sacked from the defence volunteer duty for his alleged involvement in the illicit drug trade, said the district police chief.
A local tea shop in Narathiwat's Rangae district where a gun attack took place in the early hours of Saturday. (Photo by Waedao Harai)
Police interrogate an injured man at a hospital following a gun attack in Rangae district, Narathiwat. (Photo by Waedao Harai)