NARATHIWAT: Two policemen were abducted from a local tea shop by armed men, then shot dead and dumped in a ditch, in Cho Airong district on Tuesday night.
The killers used a victim's pickup truck for the abduction. The stolen vehicle was later found burned out in nearby Tak Bai district.
The attack occurred in tambon Bukit while Pol Cpl Naret Iedthong, 31, and Pol Cpl Ruswaidee Samae, 30, of Cho Airong police station, were having tea inside the shop about 7.30pm, according to Pol Lt Sarawut Khotchawong, deputy investigation chief at Cho Airong.
Two local residents told police they saw eight armed men wearing military-type uniforms arrive at the shop.
Four of the men, who covered their faces, walked over to the two policemen and talked to them in Thai. The other armed men stood in front of the shop. The two witnesses said they heard the men speak in the Yawi Malay dialect.
The two policemen were then forcibly taken from the shop at gunpoint. Before leaving, the armed men ordered the two witnesses to sit still, otherwise they would be killed, they said.
The two captives were forced into Pol Cpl Naret’s pickup truck, which was parked in front of shop, and the eight abductors then drove it away. Feeling safe at last, the two witnesses called police.(continues below)
Police, soldiers and bomb disposal officers at the scene of the abduction in Cho Airong district, Narathiwat, on Wednesday morning. (Photo by Waedao Harai)
Cho Airong police chief Lukman Bokor radioed police in all 13 districts to set up roadblocks on possible escape routes, in a bid to help the two captured men.
Around 12.30am, a local resident alerted Pol Col Lukman that two policemen had been found shot dead, their bodies dumped in a ditch in tambon Bukit, only about 200 metres from the tea shop.
Police cordoned off the area but, fearing a trap, no further action was taken until a bomb disposal team and forensic officers were sent to the scene after sunrise on Wednesday.
Pol Col Kong-at Suwankham, deputy Narathiwat police chief and acting Tak Bai chief, said about 4.30am a local villager informed police that a pickup truck had been set on fire on a local road in tambon Kosit of Tak Bai district.
On inspection, the burned vehicle was found to be Pol Cpl Naret's pickup truck, stolen from the tea shop in nearby Cho Airong district.
Pol Col Kong-at said the killers were obviously familiar with the area as they had driven the stolen vehicle from Cho Airong through Sungai Padi and Sungai Kolok districts and then to Tak Bai, avoiding the road blocks.
Some of the attackers may have fled south across the border, he said. The assailants had also taken possession of an M16 rifle and two 9mm pistols from the slain policemen.
A road in front of a tea shop in Cho Airong district is cordoned off. (Photo by Waedao Harai)
The pickup truck stolen from one of the two victims was later abandoned and set on fire in nearby Tak Bai district, Narathiwat. (Photo by Waedao Harai)