Police look into gun shop robbery motive

Police look into gun shop robbery motive

One of the suspects is apprehended following an attempted robbery and a shootout on Friday morning. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
One of the suspects is apprehended following an attempted robbery and a shootout on Friday morning. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

Police say they haven't ruled out terrorist links as they investigate the motive behind the failed gun shop holdup by Chinese nationals in downtown Bangkok on Friday morning.

Four Chinese men tried to rob a gun shop in the Wang Burapha area using BB guns and knives shortly before noon. The shop owner fought back and police later shot three of the robbers, one of whom died in hospital later. The other robber was arrested in nearby areas.   

Police chief Chakthip Chaijinda said on Friday afternoon that the motive behind the robbery was now the focus but the suspects claimed they did not know what the guns would be used for.

"Their boss told them they would know only when they got hold of the arms. Personally, I don't think they wanted the guns for sale," he said.

The general did not rule out a terrorist act since the mastermind has yet to be found.

"But we now know who he is. He's a Chinese who has travelled to Thailand several times. We believe he's still in the kingdom and I've already told immigration police to be on high alert."  

While the general is confident no Thais were involved, he was not so sure about other groups, especially after the Aug 17, 2015 Erawan Shrine bombings, in which police concluded that Uighur Chinese were the perpetrators.

Asked whether the gang had links with the Uighurs, the police chief said it was too early to draw such a conclusion.

"But we won't rule out anything. We'll have to look at all angles. The fact that they used BB guns means they couldn't find arms. Other equipment such as radio transmitters and earphones were locally sourced," he said.

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