Thai police to identify suspects behind M79 grenade attacks

Thai police to identify suspects behind M79 grenade attacks

Police will soon reveal the identities of at least six suspects believed to be involved in grenade-launcher attacks at several sites - including an assault on the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) rally at Rajdamri that killed two children and wounded many people.

Deputy Metropolitan Police chief Maj-General Amnuay Nimmano made the announcement at a press conference yesterday after revealing that a cache of war-grade weapons had been found at an apartment in Rat Burana in Bangkok.

The seizure included a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher, three RPG rounds, RDG smoke grenades, 15 fuses, an AK-47 assault riffle, 11 40mm bullets, a bullet-proof vest, 127 7.62mm bullets and 18 11mm bullets.

Deputy national police chief General Somyot Poompanmoung said officers found the weapons at a condominium belonging to Thanainant Termchitcharoen, who claimed he had rented out the room during the months-long PDRC anti-government campaign, and the tenant left the weapons and fled after the coup was staged.

Somyot said the weapons were in good condition, while Amnuay said they might be linked to political protests in 2010.

Somyot denied allegations that police presented weapons before the media that were found in earlier raids to give the impression they were seizing new ones.

He said he would display the weapons that had been seized and kept at the Ordnance Department to refute the allegation.

Meanwhile, Narongsak "Tui" Plai-aram was arrested at an apartment in Nonthaburi's Muang district on Thursday. Narongsak, 31, was wanted for defying an order from the National Council for Peace and Order to report for questioning.

Somyot said Narongsak had confessed that he twice fired an M79 grenade into a PDRC rally - once at the Shinawatra 3 building on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road on March 7 and once on Sawankhalok Road in Dusit on March 29.

The second attack injured one person.

He also admitted to firing the weapon at the National Anti-Corruption Commission office on March 27, Somyot said.

Narongsak said he received the M79 grenade launcher at the Imperial Department Store's Lat Phrao branch from a person and was paid Bt3,000 to Bt4,000 for each attack.

He said he fired the weapon without intending to hurt anyone but to intimidate people and cause fear among protesters so they would end their rallies.

He said he was saddened by the clashes at Ratchamongala Stadium, and that prompted him to do what he did.

Amnuay said police had identified the person who gave the launcher to Narongsak and were seeking an arrest warrant.

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