Thursday, May 21, 2009

Police seize war weapons from home of school owner


Published: 22/05/2009 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News

Police have seized a cache of guns from the home of a co-owner of Siam International School in Pathum Thani province and charged four men with illegal possession of firearms.

Thanathep Phongjit, standing right, looks at a collection of war weapons seized from his girlfriend’s house in Pathum Thani province. Mr Thanathep was charged yesterday with illegal possession of firearms. SURAPOL PROMSAKA NA SAKOLNAKORN

About 20 armed Crime Suppression Division officers yesterday searched the home of 47-year-old Wilailak Wakitcharoenpruttha in Maneerin Lake and Lagoon housing estate in Pathum Thani's Muang district.

The CSD team, led by Pol Col Akkhradet Pimonsri, seized from the home an AK-47 rifle, an M16 rifle, a shotgun, an 11mm pistol, a 9mm pistol, an MK2 grenade, an M26 grenade, a smoke bomb, six large fireworks, assorted ammunition, a walkie talkie and four bullet-proof vests. The team accused four men found in the house of illegal possession of firearms.

The four are Ms Wilailak's boyfriend Thanathep Phongjit, 31, and his three aides: Traisit Somkultrairat, 39, Wiwat Amornborirak, 38, and Charnnarong Hormla-or, 29.

Mr Thanathep denied any knowledge of the seized weapons.

He told the CSD team the weapons might have been brought to Ms Wilailak's house in a bid to discredit the men.

Mr Thanathep said he and Ms Wilailak had been involved in a court dispute with Ms Wilailak's former husband whom she divorced in 2007.

Their dispute is related to their ownership of Siam International School, which is valued at over a billion baht.

The Thanyaburi Provincial Court has ruled the school's shares be spilt equally between Ms Wilailak and her ex-husband.

Mr Thanathep said the ex-husband had tried to take control of the school, prompting Ms Wilailak to plan to seek an injunction from the Thanyaburi court, which allowed her to retain her authority over the school's management.

Ms Wilailak has also been barred from entering the school. School security guards have blocked her from entering the compound and tried to physically assault her as well, Mr Thanathep said.

He added he and Ms Wilailak were to leave home for the Thanyaburi court to request a court injunction when CSD police arrived to search the house.

A CSD source said the investigators questioned Mr Thanathep's claim as the team had spent weeks collecting information about him.

The team suspected he might have obtained the firearms for self-defence. It was also possible Mr Thanathep was planning to use the weapons to attack the party in conflict with him.

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