A 24-year-old man in Phichit province has been arrested for modifying blank guns into firearms and selling them online.
Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau (CCIB) police on Saturday morning carried out a search warrant issued by the Phichit Provincial Court on Thursday for a home in tambon Khao Sai in Thap Khlo district.
After surrounding the house, officers saw a man later identified as Prinya Petchjinda attempting to flee on foot. When they caught the suspect they found four pen guns and six rounds of .38 ammunition on him. He was reportedly attempting to dispose of the items while escaping police.
A search of the home turned up a modified blank gun able to operate as a firearm, 26 gun barrels, 20 firing pins, 23 magazines and an assortment of other gun parts as well as 43 pen guns.
Inside a zipped bag hidden in the barrel of an airsoft rifle, police also found seven methamphetamine pills.
The search was ordered by the national police chief, Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol, as part of a crackdown on the sale of firearms and modified weapons online.
CCIB police found Mr Prinya by infiltrating a secret online group trading in modified weapons and other illegal firearms.
The suspect admitted to producing and modifying guns for sale for the past two years, indicating he was able to sell four to five pieces each month with prices ranging from 1,200 to 1,500 baht for pen guns. He sold blank guns made to take actual ammunition for up to 15,000 baht apiece.
Mr Prinya admitted to police that he conducted his business via online groups and social media but said he also received commissions from agents.
He has been charged with violating firearms and ammunition laws and illegal possession of firearms as well as narcotics, and is being processed according to legal procedures.
On Thursday, Bangkokk police seized a large quantity of imitation guns in raids on two warehouses in Rat Burana district.
Authorities have stepped up their efforts to crack down on unauthorised weapons sales and close loopholes in the law following the shootings that claimed three lives at a Bangkok shopping mall on Oct 3.
The teenager arrested for the Siam Paragon shootings used a gun designed to shoot blanks that he had bought online. He subsequently had it modified to fire real bullets.
Authorities have also vowed to step up gun controls in order to reduce gun-related crime.