One of the stolen pickup trucks burns after explosives inside it were detonated near a bridge in Pattani’s Mayo district last Wednesday. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A man believed to be an active member of the Runda Kumpulan Kecil (RKK) insurgent movement was arrested in Pattani’s Yarang district on Tuesday morning in connection with last week’s car robberies and hostage taking, Thai media reported.
The suspect was identified as Maroyee Radaeng, a 30-year-old man believed to have been involved in the holdup at a used-car dealer’s premises, theft of six pickup trucks and taking of hostages in Songkhla’s Na Thawi district on Aug 16.
He was arrested by a combined force of military rangers and police at his wife’s house in Ban Side village in tambon Sadawa, reports said.
The man was taken to Yarang police station where his fingerprints and a DNA sample were taken, then moved to an interrogation facility at the special taskforce of the 43rd Paramilitary Regiment in Pattani.
On Monday, the Thawi Provincial Court in Songkhla approved arrest warrants for five suspects in last Wednesday’s car robberies and hostage taking.
Deputy national police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, who is in Songkhla to supervise the investigation into the Aug 16 case, said the evidence presented included the results of tests on DNA samples collected from the stolen vehicles, which were all later found, and eyewitness accounts.
He said two of the five suspects had been positively identified, Bukholi Lamso and Rosari Lamso. Samples of their DNA were found and matched in an abandoned vehicle in Pattani’s Khok Pho district.
The five holdup gunmen were believed to be in hiding in the area bordering Songkhla and Pattani, he said.
The series of car robberies started in Pattani, where armed men held up a married couple, fish vendors, and stole their pickup truck in Yarang district about 4.30am last Wednesday.
The stolen vehicle was allegedly used by the suspects, who dressed in clothing similar to the security forces, to travel to a used-car dealership, Wang To Car Centre, in Songhla’s Na Thawi district. They stole six pickups from there and abducted four people, including the shop owner.
One hostage was killed by the gunmen and another wounded and left for dead. The other two escaped.
One of the gunmen was killed by police after a chase when he drove through a checkpoint set up after the holdups.