Police Rescue Hostage, Shoot Homeless Suspect in Shoulder

On Thursday morning, Muang district police rescued a woman taken hostage by an armed homeless man after a three-hour operation.

The suspect, who was reportedly armed with a hand grenade, was shot in the shoulder and taken to hospital. The hostage was not injured.

Police reports showed that the drama started around 9:30 a.m. after a man with an M61 hand grenade entered a motorcycle repair shop in Theparak community in the Muang district. The attacker held the business operator’s wife hostage.

The victim was later identified as Suwan Tasaengsa. The 52-year-old woman said she had arrived at her husband’s store and seen many police officers on the street before a man holding a grenade entered.

The suspect asked people there to stay in the shop. However, they all ran away, and she was left alone with him inside.

Recalling the scene, Ms. Suwan said the armed man had grabbed her by the shirt and forced her to sit close to him but did not assault, hit, or hold her by the neck.

Khon Kaen police chief Pol Maj Gen Nopphakao Sommanat said police had been deployed to the community early Thursday after receiving several complaints about repeated break-ins.

Residents alleged that a homeless scavenger was behind the thefts, and officers later found him with his pushcart. He has not been identified.

After searching, police officers found that the suspect had an 11mm pistol with ten bullets. He also produced the M61 hand grenade.

Pol Maj Gen Nopphakhao explained that the police tried to persuade him to lay the grenade down, but he refused and ran away to the motorcycle repair shop, where he took the woman hostage.

Agents launched a rescue operation after failing to persuade the man to release her. They communicated with the woman by sending signals to inform her when it was safe to run away.

Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) police officers shot the hostage-taker, wounding him in the left shoulder.

The grenade was retrieved by Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officers after he fell down. Security forces later cleared the area.

According to Pol Maj Gen Nopphakao, the preliminary inquiry found no records of the man’s identity or permanent residence nor confirmed whether he had been a paramilitary ranger. The man remains in custody while investigations continue.