Officers led by Lt Col Sutthichai Tienpo of the Kathu Police placed Sompong Sakultab under arrest at a home on Meun-ngern Rd, near the entrance to Paradise Beach.
At the home, police seized two M16 assault rifles; one .357 calibre rifle; a shotgun; a Sig Sauer 9mm handgun; one long and two short suppressors (“silencers”); two bulletproof vests and over 900 rounds of ammunition.
Col Sutthichai explained to The Phuket News that the raid followed reports of heavy gunfire near the entrance of Paradise Beach at about 9pm on December 25.
“During our ensuing investigation, we found that on that same afternoon (before the gunfire) a man had filed a complaint to the Kathu Police reporting that he had some problem with Sompong over ownership of a plot of land at the entrance of Paradise Beach,” Col Sutthichai said.
“We also found that Mr Sompong had been involved in a previous the land encroachment case and was considered an ‘influential man’ in the area,” Col Sutthichai said, but declined to name the man who had filed the complaint.
“We believed that the sound of the gunfire (on Dec 25) came from Mr Sompong’s house, and hence we applied for warrants to search the property,” Col Sutthichai said.
“We also believe that the heavy gunfire was intended to threaten or intimidate the man who filed the complaint,” he added.
Col Sutthichai said that Sompong, aged in his “mid-40s”, was a “businessman”, known for dealing in real estate.
“He also is a restaurant owner and operates water supply truck in the Patong area,” Col Sutthichai added.
Sompong has been charged with illegal possession of weapons of war and other firearms and illegal possession of ammunition.
“We are also looking into charges for firing the weapons and we will investigate the possible land dispute,” Col Sutthichai said.