THE NATIONAL Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has given a fact-finding committee 15 days to determine why its assistant secretary-general Piset Nakhaphan pulled a gun on a taxi driver at the Chaeng Watthana Government Complex in north Bangkok.
Images captured by the taxi's dashboard camera, which was widely circulated online, shows a man resembling Piset draw a pistol and point it at the taxi driver.
As security guards gather, a woman appears and speaks to both the driver and the man with the gun, urging the latter to return to his car.
The taxi later leaves the scene.
NACC secretary-general Worawit Sookboon confirmed that the gun-wielding man was Piset, but insisted this was a personal matter and had nothing to do with his official position or duties.
Worawit's deputy, Natcha Kerdsri, will lead the fact-finding committee assigned to investigate the incident.
According to an NACC source, Piset's explanation in a letter to Worawit said the incident took place at around 3pm on October 10. He said he was heading to the complex to do an errand.
He said the taxi that was in front of his car and stopped suddenly after turning towards the Government Complex. He waited for a while and then honked as a warning once before passing the taxi from the left. The taxi driver was upset, honked back, flashed his headlights several times and tailed Piset's car.
Piset said he stopped to confront the taxi driver and pulled out his gun for self-protection, but had no intention of firing it. When the taxi driver saw the gun, he waved to show he had no problem and turned the taxi around. So Piset got on with his errand, the executive wrote in his letter.
Meanwhile, Thung Song Hong superintendent Pol Colonel Parinya Leung-uthai said the incident falls under the category of a potentially non-compoundable criminal offence, so police can immediately proceed with investigation and prosecution without waiting for the taxi driver to file a complaint.
Piset has acknowledged the charges of carrying a firearm in public without a sound reason, and threatening another person with a gun. He has also not provided official testimony when he went to meet police on Tuesday after the clip went viral, Parinya said. Police will search Piset's house in Pathum Thani's Thanyaburi district to see if the pistol is registered or just a toy. Piset has given permission for police to search his house without a warrant.
Police will also check CCTV camera footage at the scene to check on the driving behaviour of both parties and see if the confrontation was warranted, he said. Police have also contacted Facebook user "Anchalee" who first posted the clip for more information, but has not had a reply yet, he said.
In the afternoon, Kittidom Sirisuk, one of the two traffic-directing volunteers who witnessed the event, said he did not notice if the vehicles were cutting in front of one another or not as he and a co-worker were both on a break at the time.
The other volunteer Prasong Thitipanit said all they could see from a distance was that two cars had stopped - as if in a minor road accident - and that Piset had got out with a gun. During the one-minute confrontation, the taxi driver, who appeared to be in his 40s, stayed in his vehicle (which had no passenger). Both parties then went their separate ways, Prasong said.