Suspect in highway police killing dies in gunfight

Suspect in highway police killing dies in gunfight

Thananchai Manmak, suspected of killing a highway police officer and wounding another at a party in Nakhon Pathom on Wednesday night, died in an exchange of fire with police hunting for him in Tha Rua district, Kanchanaburi, early on Friday. (Photo: Piyarach Chongcharoen)
Thananchai Manmak, suspected of killing a highway police officer and wounding another at a party in Nakhon Pathom on Wednesday night, died in an exchange of fire with police hunting for him in Tha Rua district, Kanchanaburi, early on Friday. (Photo: Piyarach Chongcharoen)

Thananchai Manmak, who was wanted under a court warrant for the shooting that killed a highway police officer and injuring another at a party in Nakhon Pathom on Wednesday night, was fatally shot in an exchange of gunfire with police in Tha Rua district, Kanchanaburi province, early Friday morning.

Police from the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) and Provincial Police Region 7 were deployed in a manhunt for Thananchai, alias Nong Thapha, who allegedly opened fire that killed Pol Maj Siwakorn Saibua, chief of Highway Police Station 1 of the Highway Police Sub-division 2, and seriously injured Pol Lt Col Wasin Panpee, deputy commander of the Highway Police Sub-division 2, at a dinner hosted by Praween Chankhlai, alias Kamnan Nok, in tambon Thakong in Muang district, Nakhon Pathom province, on Wednesday night.

Several other highway police officers were also present at the party.

The 45-year-old gunman was reportedly working for Mr Praween, widely known as Kamnan Nok, 35.

Following the incident, the Nakhon Pathom Court issued two arrest warrants for Thananchai and Mr Praween. Thananchai was charged with murder, attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Mr Praween was charged with ordering Thananchai to commit the crime.

The case has been transferred to the CSD for investigation.

Mr Praween surrendered to police on Thursday evening and denied the charge, saying Thananchai had acted independently without his involvement. Thananchai, however, managed to evade capture.

On Friday at 5.45am, a police investigation team from the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) laid siege to an abandoned mess hall behind Wat Phra Thaen Dong Rang in Tha Rua, where Thananchai was hiding.

When told to surrender, Thananchai opened fire in an attempt to escape, leading to a brief firefight. After the gunfire ceased, Thananchai was found dead, wearing a pair of jeans and a black T-shirt, next a four-door Ford Ranger pickup that he had used in his escape.

On Thursday, Pol Maj Gen Jaroonkiat Pankaew, acting commander of the Highway Police Division, ordered an investigation of the highway police officers who attended the party hosted by Kamnan Nok, which resulted in the tragic incident.

The investigation committee, chaired by Pol Col Nathapong Pitabutr, deputy commander of the Highway Police Division, has been tasked with determining the cause of the shooting and why the other police officers at the party did not intervene to prevent it.

Police cordon off the shooting scene, where Thananchai Manmak, alias Nong Thapha, a suspect wanted for the fatal shooting of a highway police officer in Nakhon Pathom  on Wednesday night, is killed in an exchange of fire with police in Tha Rua district, Kanchanaburi province, early Friday morning. (Photo: Piyarach Chongchaoren)

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