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Thursday, 17 July 2008

Pattaya is plagued by massive gangs of armed motorbike racers, hundreds strong, intent on causing mayhem.

15:20 |

Pattaya is plagued by massive gangs of armed motorbike racers, hundreds strong, intent on causing mayhem. They regularly challenge each other to Mad Max-like races, almost always ending up with one or more being shot dead or seriously injured. Yet, again, on the night of July 13, 2008, there was an shooting incident with 1 death and 5 injuries. Police suspect that, apart from the armed gangs, there are also irate individuals, heartily tired of this motorbike racing menace, who also arm themselves, lie in wait and take the opportunity to blow away members of these gangs. At 01.30 am, on July 13, Pol.Lt.Col.Jakarin Tou-suparb, Banglamung Investigator, was notified that a six motorbike teenage gang members had been shot and injured. The gunshot victims had already been taken to Banglamung Hospital for treatment. The Chief-of-Police was informed and police team went to investigate.
At the hospital Emergency Room, police found the 6 injured teens: Mr.Sakda Namloon (16) shot in his left leg; Mr. Surasak Gnao-sri (18) shot in his left arm, right leg and in the head; Mr. Nattapol Ronruengsak (18) shot in the stomach; Mr. Wongwan Maliges (18) shot in his right arm; and Mr. Narin Keao-gaew (16) shot in the body. Most of these teenagers had sustained minor injuries; however, Mr. Twin Tengwises (21), who had sustained a serious stomach wound, had later died from his injuries.
Apparently, most of the injured teens were friends who live in Pattaya area and the periphery. They had come out on motorbikes to watch a motorbike race by other racing gangs that is usually set up on Road No. 331, every weekend, near the Pattaya International School under Banglamung police jurisdiction. After the race was over, the friends and others were riding home in groups. Suddenly, around the Pong sub-district Bridge and Krating-rai Road, a number of armed motorcyclists and a blue pick-up truck started chasing them, took a number of shots and then escaped. Many of motorbike teens were injured and some managed to reach hospital. Police know well that most Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and days off, groups of boys and girls in teen gangs congregate and then engage in motorbike races. Each group has at least 20 to 50 people on motorbikes and they generally cause a hazard and nuisance to locals and car drivers on the road. Each time that police try to arrest them, but they spread the alarm among themselves and manage to evade capture. Usually, they parade their motorbikes, modified for road-racing, on Road No. 331 and, very often, they get into fights or start shooting each other. There have been many deaths and injuries in the past among these gangs. But this time, they were shot by a number of mysterious gunmen who were on motorbikes and a pick-up truck. Police assume that these gunmen are people who have reached the end of their tether as regards the mad antics of the teenagers and acted as vigilantes, mostly shooting to scare, rather than kill. A police spokesman said they aim to crack down on these motorcycle gangs to avoid a repetition of the shootings; they already have numerous individuals on record. Police will continue to search for the perpetrators of the July 13 shootings, who will be prosecuted if caught.

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