Police have arrested a man for allegedly selling firearms online and seized a rifle, a handgun and air gun parts from his house in Bo Klue district of Nan province.
Police allege the air guns are the same type as used in a recent anti-government demonstration in Bangkok.
A combined team of Crime Suppression Division police and local officers arrested Warachart Pholchanthuek, 46, at his house in tambon Bo Klue Tai of Bo Klue district, Pol Maj Gen Suwat Saengnum, CSD chief, said on Tuesday.
Seized from the house were a CZ rifle, a 7.65mm Star handgun, two .22 guns, 51 rounds of ammunition, 510 pellets for pneumatic (PCP) air rifles, and 28 gun parts and other items.
Pol Maj Gen Suwat said there were many gun traders online and this opened the way for criminals and ill-intentioned people to acquire weapons used in violent attacks that lead to loss of lives and injuries to people.
He had issued orders that they be tracked down and arrested.
CSD investigators learned there was a PCP air rifle trader selling firearms via a Line chat group. Pictures of compressed air guns and gun parts were shown on the Line group, with Line user Chor Changlom acting as the administrator.
Investigators later identified the administrator as Warachart Pholchanthuek and obtained an arrest warrant from the Nan Provincial Court that led to his apprehension, the CSD chief said.
During questioning, the suspect allegedly admitted to having started a closed group on Line chat to sell modified PCP rifles for 14,000-18,000 baht each. He later changed his sales method to selling tickets that members bought for 350 baht each. The ticket numbers were entered in a draw and the winner got an air rifle.
Police initially pressed charges of illegally making or having firearms in possession, and selling guns and related charges. He was handed over to Bo Klue police station for legal action.
Pol Maj Gen Suwat said air rifles were used by the anti-government Thalu Fah group during a rally in Bangkok on Aug 7.
The investigation would be extended to find out if there was a link to the protest, he said.
Crime Suppression Division police and local officers examine items seized during the raid on the house in Nan province where a 46-year-old man (right) was arrested for allegedly selling guns online. (Photo: Crime Suppression Division)