NARATHIWAT: A police officer was killed in a drive-by shooting in Sungai Kolok district of Narathiwat in the early hours of Saturday.
The attack took place on Saithong 5 Road in the municipality, said Pol Maj Nathee Chansaengsee, the investigation chief at the Sungai Kolok police station, who was alerted at 1.40am on Saturday.
Police, soldiers and local officials who went to the scene found a motorcycle overturned in the middle of the road. A bulletproof vest was found nearby, and there were bloodstains on the ground.
The motorcyclist, with two gunshot wounds to his right rib area, was rushed to Sungai Kolok Hospital where he was later pronounced dead. He was later identified as Pol L/Cpl Thanakit Ruekdee, 23, of the Ban Namtok police checkpoint in Sungai Kolok.
According to the police investigation, Pol L/Cpl Thanakit was on his way back to his checkpoint after a trip into the town when two men on a motorcycle started following him. The pillion ridder pulled out a gun and fired four shots, two of which struck him in the right rib and caused him to lose control of his bike. The assailants fled without taking the officer’s gun.
Pol Col Pratya Baitae, chief of Sungai Kolok police, said the motive for the attack had yet to be established. One possibility investigators are looking at is angry street racers who are the target of frequent crackdowns by police, he said.
Pol Maj Gen Waesamae Salae, chief of Narathiwat police, said investigators were examining security camera recordings along the route to find possible clues about the assailants.
He ruled out security problems in the deep South as a motive for the fatal attack, noting that the assailants did not steal the slain officer’s gun.