CRIME BOMBING AT FORMER POLITICIAN'S HOUSE
Dead suspect was police officer
Nakhon Ratchasima _ The man killed by a bomb in front of the house of former Thai Rak Thai executive Suporn Atthawong was a police officer suspected of attempting to arrange the attack, police said yesterday. He was identified as Pol Senior Sgt-Maj Damnoen Masungnoen, an investigative officer at Nakhon Ratchasima's Sung Noen police station.
He went to the house of the former MP in Soeng Sang district on Sunday night and accidentally detonated the bomb, according to police.
''We suspect he was preparing to launch a bomb attack against people in the house, but the bomb unexpectedly went off,'' said deputy Nakhon Ratchasima police chief Pol Col Pongdet Promijit.
Mr Suporn, currently banned from politics for five years, was in the house with his elder brother Sampat and his servants at the time of the blast, but no one was injured. However, parts of the house were damaged.
Police found a pistol beside the body of Pol Senior Sgt-Maj Damnoen. The pistol was later found not to be a type normally used by police officers.
Pol Col Pongdet yesterday led an investigation team to inspect the scene, which is only 50 metres from Soeng Sang police station.
Six witnesses have already been interrogated.
Pol Col Pongdet said police assumed the planned bomb attack might have resulted from personal or political conflicts of Mr Suporn.
Sung Noen police chief Pol Col Damrong Rotpotong said he had found no irregularities in his subordinate's behaviour during the two months since he assumed the position late last year.
Last month, he said, Pol Senior Sgt-Maj Damnoen was appointed to help the provincial election commission ensure a smooth election on Dec 23.
Meanwhile, Mr Suporn called on national police chief Pol Gen Seripisuth Temiyavej to look into the case himself.
''I've learned that Pol Senior Sgt-Maj Damnoen was a close aide to a local politician in Nakhon Ratchasima,'' Mr Suporn said.
Mr Suporn said he seems to be in conflict with the operators of a tapioca factory in Soeng Sang district because he pushed for the construction of ethanol factories in the district under the Thaksin Shinawatra administration.
The ethanol plants, if constructed, would have been in competition with the tapioca factory to buy cassava for use as a raw material.
Mr Suporn's brother was a failed candidate for the People Power party in the Dec 23 election in Nakhon Ratchasima's constituency 2.
Mr Suporn said some people might think they were the ones who filed a complaint with the Election Commission about alleged fraud by some elected candidates, resulting in those candidates not yet being endorsed by the EC.