Policeman who shot unarmed biker facing murder charge

Policeman who shot unarmed biker facing murder charge

Angry bikers gather in front of the office of TV Channel 3 on Rama IV Road in Bangkok on Tuesday night in a show of force to demand justice for Nares Rojboonsongsri, who was allegedly shot dead by a policeman in Chon Buri. (Photo by Facebook TrueStoryThai)
Angry bikers gather in front of the office of TV Channel 3 on Rama IV Road in Bangkok on Tuesday night in a show of force to demand justice for Nares Rojboonsongsri, who was allegedly shot dead by a policeman in Chon Buri. (Photo by Facebook TrueStoryThai)

A Si Racha police officer accused of shooting dead an unarmed big-bike rider in Chon Buri is facing a murder charge, as a second autopsy is planned for the victim.

National police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri on Wednesday confirmed that investigators have already charged Pol Sr Sgt Maj Suphan Chamnit, of Nong Kham police station in Si Racha of Chon Buri, with  murder.

The police senior sergeant major allegedly caused the death of Nares Rojboonsongsri, 40, who sped through a police checkpoint at Huay Lek bridge in tambon Nong Kham on the night of March 14. 

Pol Sr Sgt Maj Suphan earlier said Nares was travelling at high speed and he thought the motorcycle was going to run into another police officer at the checkpoint. He claimed he fired a warning shot into the air to stop Nares. Instead the man lost control of his motorcycle and fell off it. Nares was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after.

The case drew a barrage of criticism from local residents in Si Racha and netizens, who lashed out at the police sergeant major, accusing him of shooting dead the unarmed big-bike rider.

Provincial Police Region 2 commander Thanet Pinmuang-ngam said on Wednesday he had ordered Chon Buri police chief Nitipong Niamnoi to handle the case carefully and to ensure justice is served for relatives of the victim and the accused police officer, Thai media reported.

Pol Lt Gen Thanet said he would not take sides. The case would be based on a proper scientific examination.

Earlier, relatives of the slain 40-year-old asked the Justice Ministry’s Central Institute of Forensic Science for a second autopsy of his body to find the exact cause of death.

The relatives made the request after Phyathai Sriracha private hospital issued a death certificate for Nares, saying he died of swelling of the brain caused by a gunshot wound to his head

Police manning the Huay Lek checkpoint claimed he fell from his motorcycle big bike and then died while trying to avoid stopping for a search.

Chon Buri governor Khomsan Ekkachai said on Wednesday he had asked the provincial police chief to ensure the case is handled fairly. 

Pol Maj Gen Nitipong said Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan, director of the CIFS, had accepted the request to perform the second autopsy on Nares, whose body would be sent to the institute on Thursday. The results would be known within 10 days at most, the Chon Buri police chief said. 

He promised to handle the case straightforwardly and urged the public to be patient.

On Tuesday night, more than 300 angry residents and motorcycle riders converged on Huay Lek bridge, where Nares sustained his fatal injuries.

One protester, Kitritthitham Sawaenghasap, said the gathering was a show of force to demand the truth about the man's death, and to prevent a recurrence of such an incident. 

He said his group would gather again at the same place at 2pm on March 21 to pay tribute to Nares, and then proceed to the Provincial Police Region 2 head office at 4pm to ask for a progress report on the police investigation.


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