Two arrested for aiding Pattaya court getaway
Two people were arrested yesterday for helping three fugitives who staged a dramatic escape from the Criminal Court in Pattaya on Monday after shooting and stabbing a policeman.
The arrests came after the getaway vehicle was found in a local industrial estate.
A man identified as Max and his girlfriend named Orn were apprehended by police in Chon Buri after Max had been seen dropping off the Isuzu pickup truck outside the Rojana industrial estate in tambon Bor Win in Sri Racha district of Chon Buri yesterday, according to police.
Ms Orn later rode a motorcycle to collect Max from where the pickup truck was parked.
The pair were being questioned by police investigators yesterday although it was unclear whether they have been charged.
Police have impounded the pickup truck and gathered fingerprints from the vehicle.
The local police and Provincial Police Region 2 have launched a manhunt for the three fugitives -- Noi Nilthes, Sirinapa Wisetrit and American national Bart Allen Helmus.
According to the Courts of Justice, Mr Noi shot a court police officer, identified as Pol Capt Thanamet Photipan, who was also stabbed with a knife by Mr Helmus. The incident happened shortly before the three were to stand trial on drug charges.
After the attack, the three prisoners, who were shackled, sped off in the pickup truck parked inside the court's compound.
Yesterday, deputy police spokesman Pol Col Kritsana Pattanacharoen said at least five people, including Max and Ms Orn, were involved in helping the three fugitives flee. Police did not name the three other helpers.
The three fugitives are now facing multiple charges in connection with the escape, including colluding in an attempt to murder a state official on duty, staging an escape during detention, possessing weapons without permission and carrying the weapons in public places.
Mr Noi was earlier indicted on charges of possessing 229,800 methamphetamine pills and 100 ecstasy tablets. Mr Helmus and Ms Sirinapa faced trial for possessing a kilo of crystal meth and carrying weapons. The charges against the three carry the death penalty.
Pol Col Kritsana said police were also conducting surveillance on roads leading to border checkpoints to prevent the three slipping out of the country.
National police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda said the fugitives were armed and dangerous. He has asked their families to get in contact with them and persuade them to surrender.
Courts of Justice spokesman Suriyan Hongwilai said Pol Capt Thanamet was stable and was expected to be moved out of the intensive care unit of a local hospital yesterday.