Ex-ranger caught over illegal arms-deal cash theft
published : 4 Feb 2022 at 17:29
writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
A former army ranger has been arrested in Chumphon province after fleeing with 2 million baht snatched from a client who thought he was making an illegal arms purchase.
Pol Maj Gen Montri Thetkhan, commander of the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), said on Friday that former sergeant Khemmarit Nuankaew, alias "Krod Chumphon'', 34, an ex-army ranger, was caught at a commercial building on Phetkasem Road in tambon Tak Daed in Chumphon on Thursday evening.
He was wanted on an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court on Nov 17 for collusion in theft and use of a vehicle to flee with the money.
It is alleged that in November last year the suspect had tricked another person into bringing 2-million-baht cash to a meeting in Don Mueang area to make an illegal arms purchase.
When the client arrived, Khemmarit and two accomplices asked to see the money. When he showed the bag, they snatched it and fled in a waiting car.
The buyer then filed a complaint at Don Muang police station.
A police source said the complainant had contacted the suspect for the purchase of a large quantity of ammunition for war weapons.
Investigators learned that Khemmarit was ex-military, a former sergeant in the rangers and a weapons specialist, experienced with firearms and explosives. He had served in the far South, Pol Maj Gen Montri said.
The suspect was known for being violent and often carried weapons. He had posted a message challenging the damaged party to exchange gunshots with him, according to the CSD commander.
“CSD investigators learned that Sgt Khemmarit was planning a robbery at a gold shop in Muang district of Chumphon. They immediately went to the southern province and managed to arrest the suspect. There was no violence,’’ Pol Maj Gen Montri said.
A search of his room uncovered one 11mm pistol with two loaded magazines, 49 rounds of ammunition, a bomb-like device, a jacket, a crash helmet and a food container used by delivery service riders.
During questioning, the suspect said he was addicted to gambling and had huge debts. This drove him to lure the buyer to a meeting, thinking he was buying guns, and then make off with the money.
Pol Maj Gen Montri said the suspect claimed he had bought the seized handgun from an acquaintance and was in the process of transferring ownership.
As for the jacket and delivery rider’s container, he admitted he planned to use them during a gold shop robbery.
Pol Col Pathak Khwanna, superintendent of the CSD’s sub-division 4 who led the arrest, said Khemmarait was discharged from the army last year after repeatedly being absent without leave.
The suspect allegedly admitted he planned to use his gun to commit crimes and against any officers who came to arrest him, according to Pol Col Pathak.
During the arrest, Khemmarit had encouraged the arresting officers to shoot him, saying he did not want to live anymore, a police source said.