Police arrest 34 during raids on social media gun-sales gang

Police arrest 34 during raids on social media gun-sales gang

Police arrested 34 people and confiscated 58 guns and over 6,000 rounds of ammunition during a midweek crackdown on a gang illegally selling firearms online.

Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittprapat, a deputy police chief and head of the Police Cyber Task Force, said raids targeted members of "Guns for Love", a chat group where firearms, gun parts and ammunition were traded.

Investigators found the group was administered and transactions processed by a person known as "Noom". Buyers would transfer money to a designated account after which Noom would instruct vendors to send items to buyers.

Armed with search warrants and two arrest warrants, police raided 77 targeted locations in 51 provinces targeting those involved in the illegal arms trade.

They arrested 34 people including Sathitkhun "Noom" Petchking, 21, the administrator of the sellers' groups.

Seized from Mr Sathitkhun were a 9mm pistol, gun parts, a large amount of ammunition and seven bank books.

Mr Sathitkhun told police that he was a collector and shared his collection in group chats via the Line application and Facebook. He set up the "Guns for Love" group to review and trade guns and made between 1,000-2,000 baht per transaction.

Police also arrested Sophawadee [surname withheld], a 46-year-old woman who opened bank accounts for the transactions.

Among the other suspects was Sitthisak [surname withheld] who was hired by Mr Sathitkhun to assemble guns for clients. Seized from his home in Sukhothai province was gun-making equipment.

Mr Sitthisak said he received orders from Mr Sathitkhun and had made more than 300,000 baht from the trade.

Police confiscated 17 pistols, 41 rifles, 6,421 rounds of ammunition and nine gun parts in the raids. They also seized 20 methamphetamine pills, a small amount of crystal meth and 3,627 grammes of marijuana.

All the suspects were initially charged with illegally possessing and distributing firearms.

Pol Gen Damrongsak said the Police Cyber Task Force had received more than 13,000 complaints since the launch of the site in early March with more than 4,200 complaining they had not received their ordered goods.

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