Chief suspect sought after cop shot

Chief suspect sought after cop shot

Fears over escalating violence at protests

A woman at a Din Daeng flat exercises with a skipping rope on Friday night as anti-government protesters were gathering at Din Daeng junction for a rally against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)
A woman at a Din Daeng flat exercises with a skipping rope on Friday night as anti-government protesters were gathering at Din Daeng junction for a rally against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Police say they have information about the gunman who shot a police officer on Wednesday night following a protest near the Din Daeng flats in Bangkok.

Pol Maj Gen Jirasan Kaewsaeng-ek, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), said police have information about the suspected culprit, but no arrest warrant has been issued yet.

"The gunman had the intention to kill. It was found that the bullet was fired from a high location. The type of bullet is being examined by forensic officers," he said.

He said that more than 70 protesters were arrested during a raid on Ding Daeng flats on Thursday, and the ensuing riot was incited by posts on social media platforms, with firearms and home-made bombs being distributed to protesters.

The protesters were apprehended for violating the curfew restrictions under the emergency decree. Pol Maj Gen Jirasan did not confirm whether the gunman was among those arrested.

He also warned that if protesters, who are already on arrest warrants repeat the offence, police will ask the court to consider their punishment. Parents who fail to stop them from taking part in protests may also face legal action, he said.

He added that protesters are becoming more violent, frequently prompting riot police to act.

Pol Maj Gen Jirasan also said that more riot control gear, such as bullet-proof helmets, will be provided for officers to ensure their safety.

The injured officer was identified as Pol L/Cpl Detwit Ledtenson. He was shot at about 10.43pm behind Din Daeng Flat 1 on Chaturathit Road, also known as Soi Saeng Uthaithip, and rushed to Police General Hospital.

His Majesty the King has accepted the officer as a patient under royal patronage.

Pol Col Sirikul Kritpittayaboon, deputy spokeswoman for the Royal Thai Police, said a team of doctors looking after Pol L/Cpl Detwit reported that the officer on Friday regained consciousness after surgery.

The officer could open his eyes and act as he was told, although his right arm and leg remain weak, and he still requires a ventilator.

Pol Maj Gen Jirasan previously said national police chief Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk was concerned about the safety of residents and passers-by because protesters are now using real firearms, and some were even found disguised as nurses while attacking police officers.

"The rally was not a peaceful gathering but a crime," he said.

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