Popcorn Gunman and Chalerm Yoobamrung

‘Popcorn Gunman’ supported by PDRC in Lak Si attack, police say

BANGKOK, March 20 – The so-called ‘Popcorn Gunman’ arrested in relation to the shooting attack in Bangkok’s Lak Si district on the eve of the Feb 2 general election confessed that his ammunition was provided by an armed faction of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).

Vivat Yodprasit, 24-year-old Phitsanulok native, who was named as the ‘Popcorn gunman’ after concealing his gun with a popcorn bag during the clash with red shirt supporters on Feb 1, was arrested yesterday in Surat Thani and was taken to a news conference in the capital today.

Mr Vivat said that he was given the gun which came in a popcorn bag given by a PDRC guard head called ‘Men’. When he was informed of the tension in Lak Si, he went to the site and fired 20 shots from his M-16 assault rifle.

He admitted that he attended the PDRC rallies for two months and was hired at Bt300 per day to be a protesters’ guard, but he did not know the person who ordered the shootings.

The alleged gunman will be charged with premeditated attempted killing, illegal possession of a firearm, carrying firearms in the city and public venues and violation of the state of emergency.

Pol Lt Gen Winai Thongsong, assistant to the national police chief, said three suspects remain at large. They have been named and police are now seeking court to approve arrest warrants for them.

For Mr ‘Men’ who heads a guard group in the PDRC movement, Gen Winai said his real name has been identified. He also provided shelter for the popcorn gunman while he was in Surat Thani.

It was reported that there are five armed guard groups at the PDRC rally site in Chaeng Wattana area. Each has dozen members who are well trained to use guns.

Meanwhile, PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan today slammed the arrest of the popcorn gunman saying that it was a plot.

He noted that police sought court to issue warrant against four people, but the court approved only one of them due to insufficient evidence.

He urged police to clarify their activities and arrest other suspects for other cases of violent attacks which have made no progress.

MCOT

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