Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has called on police to explain how they killed a man suspected of involvement in the drive-by shooting of a 12 year-old boy.
Aman believed to be a plain-clothes police officer shoots at a target thought to be highway murder and drug trafficking suspect Charnchai Prasongsil in Ayutthaya on Saturday. The video clip has been posted on the YouTube website.
Mr Abhisit said yesterday his government did not support extrajudicial killings by police.
Video footage purportedly showing police shooting to death their suspect in the fatal drive-by attack on Phokin "Nong Tomee" Deephiu was uploaded on YouTube on Monday.
The youngster died on Saturday of injuries sustained in a road rage attack in Ayutthaya on Dec 4.
Just hours after the youngster's death, police tracked down one of the suspects in the killing to an apartment near Ayutthaya and shot him.
The clip, uploaded to YouTube by "regist53", is said to show police attempting to arrest Charnchai Prasongsil, also known as Joke Paikiew, 29, on the night of the boy's death, near an apartment in Ayutthaya.
Part of the clip shows a man firing two shots at a target lying in a wet overgrown area. The scene is in darkness but voices heard in the clip indicate the target is Charnchai. It is unclear if the man was dead or alive when he was shot but someone is heard in the video as saying that he might be alive.
The video appears to have been taken for official purposes, possibly by rescue workers, as police are heard telling them when to stop filming.
After a policeman shoots repeatedly at the target, he is told to put away his gun. He is named in the video as "Theng".
Police raided the apartment where their chief suspects, Charnchai and his brother Noppon Prasongsil, known as Jib Paikiew, were staying.
Charnchai was killed by police while Mr Noppon managed to escape. Mr Noppon was caught in Ayutthaya's Bang Pa-in district on Tuesday.
Mr Abhisit said yesterday his government did not support extrajudicial police killings. "They are not the right, or sustainable solution," he said.
The prime minister wanted to know what happened on the night Charnchai was killed.
Police, meanwhile, are defending their actions, insisting Charnchai, who was also a suspected drug trafficker, was armed and dangerous, and had shot at them first.
The clip has drawn mixed reactions from the public. Some posters who viewed the video supported the police action while others disagreed.
"How can this be a legal killing when police can point the gun at a suspect who is lying down and shoot him dead?" asked one poster.
Another wrote: "He fired at police so police were entitled to kill him. Suspects can pretend to die, only to shoot police who approach."
"Think about what he did to the 12-year old boy. He was also a drug trafficker," another poster wrote. "He deserved to be killed."
Somchai Homla-or, a human rights activist, said Charnchai's relatives could appoint a lawyer to have the case heard in court if they think police overacted.
Public prosecutors will also join an investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings as required by law to ensure justice.
Pol Gen Asawin Khwanmuang, senior adviser to the Royal Thai Police Office and acting commissioner of Provincial Police Region 1, who supervised the operation and is seen in the video footage, insisted police did not overreact.
"The police did what they had to do," he said. "I swear on the honour of my police service that spans most of my life that the police did not overreact and I believe society will understand them."
He had not seen the clip. He insisted that all officers on the mission were well trained and strictly followed regulations. Police would not have killed the man had they not been shot at.
The arrest of Charnchai's younger brother Noppon on Tuesday went smoothly and police did not hurt anyone even though he was carrying a gun.
Pol Gen Asawin met Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban at Government House yesterday to report on the operation.
Mr Suthep said later the attack on the vehicle which carried Nong Tomee was an appalling crime and shocked the public. He thanked the police for solving the case and making the arrests quickly.- Bangkok Post, 16/12/2010, Killing of suspect filmed - PM wants explanation of video on YouTube