Navy probes 'stolen' ammo allegations
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Navy probes 'stolen' ammo allegations

A naval demonstration is carried out near Sattahip Naval Base in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district. (File photo)
A naval demonstration is carried out near Sattahip Naval Base in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district. (File photo)

The navy has opened an investigation into an ordnance officer believed to be responsible for stealing large quantity of cartridges from its arsenal in Sattahip naval base in Chon Buri, according to navy spokesman Adm Pokkrong Monthatphalin.

He was responding to the popular CSI-LA Facebook page, run by a Thai expatriate in the US, which alleged tens of thousands of M855 and M856 cartridges as well as thousands of 40mm grenade launcher rounds have gone missing from the navy's warehouse in Sattahip.

The navy chief Adm Choengchai Chomchoengpaet has ordered a probe into the theft which was reported to the Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC) on July 5. An inspection of the arsenal is underway at the compound of the Phra Maha Jetsadaratchao naval camp.

Checks found a significant quantity of ammunition missing, Adm Pokkrong said. He did not give a figure.

A separate panel was also launched by the navy chief's order to look into disciplinary punishment against the ordnance officer who looted the cartridges. Adm Choengchai has insisted that swift action will be taken.

The RTMC also issued an instruction for the closed-circuit television footage at the arsenal to be reviewed and guards on the premises interviewed. It came to the RTMC's attention that an ordnance officer had let himself in to the warehouse using duplicate keys he had made and taken ammunition on several occasions.

The officer, whose name was not given, has been absent from work since July 6 and could not be contacted.

The warehouse guards are not involved in the theft, said Adm Pokkrong.

The guards said they did not stop the officer from taking the ammunition because they thought it was part of his working routine.

The CSI-LA Facebook page said one source estimated that at least 400,000 cartridges were stolen. The page added it was curious to know why the ammunition disappeared in the wake of clashes in a neighbouring country and at a time when Thailand's politics was becoming increasingly unstable over the PM vote.

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