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Caught in crossfire: Thai man nabbed for peddling homemade guns

Picture courtesy of KhaoSod

Police arrested 22 year old Thai man for selling homemade firearms on social media. The operation aimed to curb crimes involving illegal weapons, a rising concern given recent violent incidents.

Police launched this sting operation under the directive of Police General Kitirat Phanphet, acting Commissioner-General, and Police General Thana Chuwong, Deputy Commissioner-General. The plan was executed to address the escalating issue of crimes involving firearms and ammunition, as seen in recent cases like a gang clash that resulted in one fatality and one injury. These weapons were often sourced from online platforms.

Today, the operation was led by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Thiti Saengsawang, along with Deputy Commissioner Nopasin Poolsawat, Police Colonel Kiattisak Sratong-oi, and other senior officers. They instructed a team headed by Police Lieutenant Colonel Nitikorn Rawang to apprehend Anuwat for unauthorized firearm sales, possession, and carrying firearms in public without valid reasons.

The suspect, Anuwat, also known as James Talingchan, was caught with a modified .380 calibre handgun and a magazine. The investigation began when undercover officers monitored social media for illegal firearm sales. They discovered that Anuwat was using a Facebook account to offer a homemade, modified handgun for 10,000 baht (US$270).

A source informed Sub-Lieutenant Somporn that Anuwat was selling the weapon and arranged a meeting at the parking lot of Wat Puranawas Temple in Sala Thammasop, Thawi Watthana.

The undercover team, after verifying the information, set up a sting operation. They checked the informant for any illegal items and provided the money for the decoy purchase. Police officers accompanied the informant to the meeting point.

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Undercover officer

Upon arrival, Anuwat approached the vehicle driven by an undercover officer. After confirming the weapon was as advertised, the officers handed Anuwat 6,500 baht (US$180), promising to transfer the remaining 3,500 baht (US$95) later. Anuwat accepted the cash, and the officers signalled for the arrest team to move in.

Anuwat was immediately arrested and charged with unauthorised firearm sale, possession, and carrying firearms in public without valid reasons. He was taken to Thammasala Police Station for further investigation, reported KhaoSod.

Anuwat admitted to offering the firearm for sale at 10,000 baht (US$270). Police Colonel Teeradej emphasised the legal repercussions for both buyers and sellers of illegal firearms online.

Buyers face imprisonment from one to ten years and fines ranging from 2,000 to 20,000 baht (US$55 to US$545), while sellers face harsher penalties, including two to twenty years in prison and fines from 4,000 to 40,000 baht (US$109 to US$1,090).

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