The court yesterday evening issued an arrest warrant from 23-year-old Wisuth Yokyong at an address in Mai Khao, and 24-years-old Thanachai Chunthong from Trang on charges of premeditated attempted murder, illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, and carrying a firearm in a public place without a permit.
The shooting incident took place at 7:45pm on Thursday when two suspects shot Weerachart Kahapana, Imam of the of Baan Bangpae Mosque in Pa Khlok, while he was driving his vehicle to his home in Soi Koh Kaew 24 with his three-years-old son on the back seat.
Imam Weerachart, who is also a member of the Phuket Islamic Committee, said a black motorbike pulled alongside them and the passenger pulled out a gun and pointed it at him through the driver’s window and shot four times. The Imam was hit once in the stomach but managed to crash his vehicle into the suspects’ motorbike to stop the attack, but they ran away after the collision. (See story here)
Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen of the Phuket Provincial Police said that after police were alerted two men suspected to have been involved in the shooting were receiving treatment at Vachira Hospital, officers who were investigating the crime went to question the two men.
“Officers found a pair of flip flops, two helmets and a mobile phone at the crime scene which led police to one of the suspects. However, we are still looking for the gun which we believe was dumped on street by the men before they went to Thalang Hospital,” Maj Gen Teeraphol said.
“One suspect, Thanachai has been arrested previously in Trang on firearm charges, but Wisuth has no previous arrest record. Both men are still at the hospital and have denied any involvement in the shooting.
“From the information we have so far, the motive has to do with issues that the Phuket Islamic Committee are facing. We were told that Imam Weerachart has been threaten with being shot before,” he added.