BANGKOK — Police on Monday refuted online rumors that the gunman who shot dead three people in a gold store robbery had been arrested, saying the manhunt is still ongoing.
Police also lashed out at several online personalities who donned the outfit of the robber in apparent social media pranks. National police spokesman Krissana Pattanacharoen on Sunday said the joke was not only in bad taste, but also risked violating the law.
“This kind of action caused fright and paranoia to the general public,” Col. Krissana said. “It is an inappropriate action.”
Any act that caused fear to the public is punishable by up to a month in prison under Section 392 of the Criminal Code, the police spokesman said.
His warning came after some Facebookers posted photos of themselves “cosplaying” the gunman, who killed three people during a gold store heist in Lopburi city on Thursday night, including a two-year-old boy.
One of the cosplayers also reportedly visited a shopping mall in Lamphun province while wearing the grim outfit of balaclava, black shirt, and camouflage pants.
The prank drew harsh backlash from many on social media.
“Right now it’s become a dumb and crazy trend,” Facebook page Red Skull Addict wrote. “If some people got triggered and beat you up, don’t whine about it, dickhead.”
Nearly a week after the deadly heist, which shocked the nation for its particularly brutal nature, police have yet to identify the perpetrator. A rumor also spread online on Sunday that a suspect was under custody, but police soon dismissed the claim as untrue.
At a Sunday news conference, deputy police commissioner Suchart Teerasawat defended the pace of the investigation, saying police need more time to work.