The suspect was identified as Lt Meechai Chosom, 37, a deputy chief of investigation of Nong Chik Police Station, said Maj Gen Wanchai Ekpornpich, chief of the Nakhon Sri Thammarat provincial police.
He said the suspect was being detained at Nong Chik station and was to be transferred to the Thung Yai Police Station for questioning later Sunday (Dec 17).
On Wednesday, a robber took only about a minute to rob the Jiraporn gold shop in Thung Yai district and make off with 20 baht weight of gold, worth about B400,000. Police said he stood outside the metal security grille and forced the saleswoman at gunpoint to bring the ornaments to him. He fled on a motorcycle.
Col Thamaphong Phetphirun, chief of the Nong Chik police, said he would next ask the Pattani provincial police chief to consider suspending Lt Meechai from work while he is facing a criminal investigation.
He insisted he was not aware of his subordinate’s activity until he was contacted by Thung Yai police, who sought his cooperation to arrest Lt Meechai in connection with the gold shop robbery.
Lt Meechai previously had demonstrated good work performance. He was a man of few words yet with a good personality and discipline, said Col Thamaphong, adding debt problems were believed to be behind the crime.
Pol Col Krisana Pattanacharoen, deputy spokesman for the Royal Thai Police, said an investigation is under way to find out if the suspect used weapons stolen from the station in the robbery, whether he should be dismissed if proven guilty, and if his superior turned a blind eye.