Pongsapat sorry for shooting mistake

Deputy police chief Pongsapat Pongcharoen, who is in charge of drug suppression, said he is sorry for a wrongful shooting incident in which Bang Chan police opened fire at Chulalongkorn University student Apisada Sajjapanroj's car after mistaking her for a drug dealer on Saturday. He vowed to replace the damaged car with a new one and transfer three police officers to administrative duties elsewhere pending a fact-finding investigation.

Pol Gen Pongsapat offerred the apology at a press conference on Sunday in the presence of Pol Maj Gen Naiyawat Phadermchit, chief of the Metropolitan Police Division 4.

The shooting incident occurred at about 2pm on Saturday at an intersection on Ramkhamhaeng Soi 118 after the car driven by Miss Apisada, 21, a third year law student of Chulalongkorn University, was overtaken by an unmarked black pickup truck.

Four plainclothes police officers then emerged from the vehicle and surrounded Miss Apisada’s car, but did not identify themselves as police.

Miss Apisada said she became frightened when she saw one of the men who was standing on the driver's side of the car with a gun protruding from his waistband. She backed up her car and hit a Benz behind.

One of the men then raised his pistol and fired several shots at Miss Apisada’s car. She accelerated and crashed into several more vehicles before coming to a stop after her right front tyre was deflated by bullets.

The men then identified themselves as policemen and searched her car but found nothing, and left the scene when her relatives arrived after receiving a call for help.

Pol Gen Pongsapat said he was sorry for the mistake, saying he had ordered three officers - Pol Sub-Lt Supot Toket, a deputy investigation chief, Pol Sr Sgt Maj Chamnian Khandaeng and Pol Sr Sgt Maj Rassami Theptha, all of Bang Chan police station - to take up temporary administrative duties at Prawet, Hua Mak and Udomsuk respectively. The three police stations are under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police Division 4.

He did not mention the other policeman who was reported to have been involved.

He said a committee had been set up to investigate the incident.

Pol Gen Pongsapat also promised to take remedial action and pay compensation for the damage to Ms Apisada's car by replacing it with a new one.

He said the family of Ms Apisada had not demanded anything else other than to ask the police to be more careful in their operations.

Earlier on Sunday, Pol Col Saroj Soonsap, deputy commander of the Metropolitan Police Division 4, said what happened was a misunderstaning as the police officers thought the student was a drug suspect.

Miss Apisada said she had never been involved in the drug trade and did not understand why the four policemen did not identify themselves from the beginning instead of showing aggression.

Share your thoughts

Back to top

More From Bangkokpost.com