Vital den shootout footage missing

Vital den shootout footage missing

Closed-circuit television cameras seem to have been removed from the scene of Monday's shootout at a gambling den.

Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner Pakapong Pongpetra said yesterday his officers were still trying to discover how a police officer was killed, along with three others, at the illegal casino on Rama III Road.

The officer who was shot dead was Pol Maj Watthanaset Samniangprasert, 32, an interrogation inspector at Samae Dam station, who is reported to have frequently gambled at the venue.

Pol Lt Gen Pakapong said every CCTV camera appeared to have been removed by the time police arrived at the scene 30 minutes after the shooting. A blood-stained Baccarat table was reportedly found dumped behind the building.

The commissioner said if police had solid evidence the place operated as a casino, its owner would be charged.

Most recently, the four-storey building in Yannawa district, where the ground-floor den is located, was leased to a man named Tor, who opened what became a popular casino.

Police say that late on Monday night, a man of Chinese appearance shot dead Pol Maj Watthanaset and two other people before being shot dead himself by another man who fled the premises and is still at large. A personal feud is thought to have been behind the police officer's shooting.

Pol Lt Gen Pakapong said the building owner and those known to have gambled there would all be questioned.

He said all facts would be studied before any conclusion was drawn on whether police had failed to suppress the den's activities. Those who had destroyed vital evidence would also be identified and charged.

A committee investigating alleged police involvement in casinos generally is different from the one investigating this particular shooting spree.

Outspoken former MP Chuwit Kamolvisit and former metropolitan police officer Santhana Prayoonrat will be invited to advise about such dens.

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