Defendant Opens Fire in the Courtroom, Killing Plaintiff and Lawyer

The exterior of Chanthaburi Court on Nov. 12, 2019.
The exterior of Chanthaburi Court on Nov. 12, 2019.

CHANTHABURI — A retired police officer who was the defendant in a land dispute case died after he opened fire in the courtroom, killing the plaintiff and his lawyer on Tuesday morning.

Thanin Chantratip, 67, was shot by an on-duty police officer inside a Chanthaburi courtroom and severely wounded before he died at a hospital later in the afternoon, a court official said.

Spokesman for the Court of Justice Suriyan Hongwilai said the shooting took place before court was in session, when the judge and court officials were outside and everyone else was waiting for all the parties to arrive.

Suriyan said Thanin was in the courtroom waiting for a hearing in a criminal lawsuit related to false complaints and perjury.

Thanin started arguing when the plaintiff, Bancha Porameesanaporn, entered the room with his wife and his two lawyers.

Thanin then drew his gun, shot Bancha, and began firing at others in the courtroom, until a policeman brought him down, according to Suriyan.

Bancha and his lawyer Wijai Sukharom died at the hospital, while Bancha’s wife Supaporn Porameesanaporn and another lawyer Wichai Udomthanapat were severely injured. Both Supaporn and Wichai are currently comatose.

Chanthaburi provincial police chief Sathien Boonkham said the police are investigating how Thanin managed to bring a gun inside the court past the metal detectors.

Suriyan the Court of Justice spokesman said the two parties often got into quarrels with each other in the past hearings.

According to media reports, Thanin and Bancha were in a decade-long legal dispute over a plot of land in Tha Mai and Kaeng Hang Maeo districts of Chanthaburi.

Bancha was a lawyer for former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra during her rice-pledging scheme trials.