Police Tuesday concluded their search for a man suspected of impersonating a police officer in a bizarre Bangkok road encounter early this morning with the discovery that he’s actually just a very, very bad cop – if what multiple witnesses say is true.
Col. Kiatisak Sathongoi intervened when a fight was about to break out between two people involved in an accident and reportedly fired his gun repeatedly into the air while threatening to shoot those involved. He eventually abandoned his black Mercedes at the scene, in which officials found a badge with his name on it.
But rather than jump to any hasty conclusions, the police said they really wanted to make sure that the man was a real cop. More than a real cop, Kiatisak is the deputy chief of an entire provincial police force in Nakhon Sawan.
The strange story pieced together from witnesses and the police is as follows:
Chanachol Prodang, 26, said he was taking his mother by motorcycle to the Pak Khlong Flower Market when the accident in question occurred at about 1am. They were on the Thai-Japan Flyover that runs above Rama IV Road near Lumphini Park when a car struck them as they slowed due to a stopped car in the road, according to multiple reports.
The collision knocked them to the ground and injured both Chanachol and his mother.
Chanachol told police he was angry and picking a fight with the motorist, 43-year-old Nattayuch Laogitket, when the driver of the stopped car – the broken-down Mercedes – got out and intervened. Chanachol said he claimed to be a police officer and even took his phone when he tried to make a call.
When Chanachol followed the unidentified man back to the Mercedes to reclaim his phone, the “cop” pulled a gun and fired into the air. Chanachol said the man got on the phone with someone and continued to make threats, saying things like “right now I’m [on] a bridge, should I shoot someone in the head?” and “Where the hell are you going?” before firing into the sky again. Freaked out, Chanachol ran under the bridge, just before he saw four men wearing white arrive in another black vehicle and pick up Kiatisak.
And his weird tale was backed up by other witnesses. Two rescuers said they were also stopped from accessing the scene to tend to the injured. One of them, Chaleoaw Khamtu, told reporters that the Mercedes driver told him not to enter, which he totally obeyed after the man fired two warning shots into the sky.
Another emergency responder, ambulance driver Nattachaya Thamasuttpong, said she arrived just as the other rescuer was leaving. She was about to follow when she realized there were still injured to be picked up, so she parked the ambulance and approached Chanachol’s mother. That’s when she heard two gunshots go off.
It wasn’t until the third shot was fired that she realized the sound wasn’t coming from a car. That’s when she pressed her hand together in prayer and asked the Mercedes driver to allow her to take Chanachol’s mother to the hospital. He let them go but reportedly asked them to “remove” the ambulance’s dash-mounted camera.
Once investigators caught up with Kiatisak – he really couldn’t have been hard to find – he reportedly told his superiors that he simply acted to defuse a situation, according to multiple local media sources.
Not sure what training manual he read at the academy.
Police say they are still investigating and questioning the witnesses.