A police pickup truck was within 100 metres of the shooting, as shown in a video provided to The Phuket News by a local resident.
Cherng Talay Police Chief Col Serm Khwannimit told The Phuket News that the taxi driver had been brought in for questioning, but charges had yet to be filed.
“At that time, he was not on duty, working or taking any passengers. His house is near where the incident occurred,” Col Serm said.
“He said he tested the gun, .22 rifle, with friends and that he had only just brought the rifle from home in ‘a car with green number plates’ (sic) – it was not carried in the car in working time.”
The man was being held for carrying a gun in public without a permit and firing the weapon without reasonable cause, Col Serm confirmed.
However, he said, “I do not want to give the suspect’s name.”
“We cannot file any charges over the shooting of any pigs as we have no evidence to substantiate the claim,” Col Serm added.
Col Serm declined to answer whether or not it is legal to shoot wild pigs in Phuket, or whether it is legal to shoot any animals on the land where the shooting occurred.
He also did not clarify whether the incident constituted reckless endangerment for firing the gun within metres of people’s houses or explain why the police pickup truck was at the scene of the shooting.
Col Serm did confirm that it is illegal to carry firearms in a public transport vehicle at any time.
The taxi-gun incident occurred on the last day of a three-day blitz on Phuket public transport drivers launched by Director of the Land Transport Department (DLT) Sanit Promwong.
The campaign, carried out by transport officials with military personnel in support, saw 573 taxi, tuk-tuk and bus drivers arrested for a variety of offences, together fined more than B7 million in total. (See story here.)
Wild pigs in Phuket have previously won local residents’ affections. Public pressure last year resulted in a litter occupying a patch of land near the Tesco shopping centre on the bypass road being relocated to Phang Nga at government expense, instead of the land owner having to deal with the problem of the growing herd independently. (See story here.)