Mayor faces charges over shooting
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Mayor faces charges over shooting

SURAT THANI: The mayor of a municipality on the mainland is facing attempted murder charges for allegedly orchestrating a shooting spree on a Koh Phangan resort in retaliation for a noise complaint.

Police arrested Chanin Phetsri, 54, on Friday evening after a search of his home in Tha Khanom municipality.

Mr Chanin, the mayor of Tha Khanom in Surat Thani’s Khiri Ratthanikhom district, allegedly hired two men to open fire on a resort next door to a property he owns on Koh Phangan’s Hat Rin beach.

Two men have been charged with carrying out the shooting at Palita Lodge early on Jan 12 and have been named by police as Sihanart Chaipinit, 62, and Jirat Khuadkaew, 38. The shooting caused panic among tourists staying at the resort, but no injuries were reported.

Shortly after the attack, police arrested Jarong Hongthong, 38, the manager of the Chang Phuek bungalows and Similan bar next to Palita Lodge. Chang Phuek and Similan are both owned by Mr Chanin, who leased the bar to a Russian businessman, said Surat Thani police chief Apichart Bunsriroj, who led the search of the mayor’s house.

Officers seized three handguns and ammunition from the mayor’s home, while a search of the two accused gunmen’s homes recovered a .38 pistol allegedly used in the shooting.

Police have charged Mr Chanin with conspiracy to murder, though he has denied any wrongdoing. Mr Sihanart and Mr Jirat have also been charged with attempted murder and illegal possession of firearms.

Mr Sihanart is now in custody, but Mr Jirat is believed to have fled.

Pol Maj Gen Apichart said the shooting was revenge against the operator of Palita Lodge, who had complained the Similan bar held noisy parties outside legal hours.

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