Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gunmen fire on gold shop in Three Pagoda Pass; four people injured

Tuesday, 14 June 2011 19:12 Kyaw Kha

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Six gunmen fired on a gold shop in Three Pagoda Pass on Tuesday injuring four people including two Thai nationals.

Fire destroyed the two-story building that
was fired on by six gunmen with rocket
grenades in Three Pagoda Pass on
Tuesday. Photo: Mizzima
Eyewitnesses said the gunmen arrived at the Aung Tin Win gold shop in downtown Three Pagoda Pass in a Toyota Hilux pickup at noon and opened fire on the shop. Three Pagoda Pass is located on the Thai-Burmese border opposite Sankhlaburi, Thailand.

The gunmen were equipped with M-16 rifles and rocket propelled grenades, witnesses said. Some eyewitnesses said they saw up to 30 gunmen deployed in different areas in the town prior to the attack.

The gold shop is owned by Aung Tin Win and attached to a store selling apparel and food, with a cooking oil warehouse adjacent to the gold shop.

‘The gunmen brought petrol drums in their car and they rolled them into the shop beside the main road. Then they attached bombs to the petrol drums. All the customers fled from the shop immediately. Then they fired an RPG at the shop and detonated the bombs by wires’, a local resident told Mizzima.

No organization has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Karen National Union, Democratic Karen Buddhist Army and New Mon State Party all denied involvement in the shooting and explosion when contacted by Mizzima.

Shrapnel and splinters hit two Thai nationals, who were selling vegetables from a nearby truck, a customer and a motorcycle taxi driver.

All the injured were admitted to Sankhlaburi Hospital in Thailand.

The scene outside the two-story building that
was fired on by six gunmen on Tuesday in
Three Pagoda Pass. Photo: Mizzima
The gunmen didn’t take any gold and jewelry from the shop.

‘A man was sitting in the car. Another man equipped with a M-16 rifle stood guard beside the car. Four gunmen first fired the RPG into the upper floor. Then they shot into the ground floor. All the gunmen were young men’, said a witness.

The gunmen escaped by car into the jungle area south of the city. After the incident, local police and army units of Infantry Battalion No. 284 cordoned off the area.

The fighting left the two-story building burned, and damaged four motorcycles, two pickup trucks and the cooking oil warehouse. One RPG round, four mortar shells, one bomb in the shape of a 6-inch cylindrical condensed milk can and one roll of wire were left by the gunmen, said a source close to Three Pagoda Pass police station.

‘He (Aung Tin Win) is the richest businessman in the town. He paid taxes to the rebels regularly in the past. Some said his shop was destroyed by rebels because he stopped paying taxes to them after he reportedly said that he didn’t need to pay anymore because of the new government’, said a source with a border-based armed group.

Recently, three masked gunmen fired on the Military Affairs Security office in Three Pagoda Pass from a motorcycle and fired on a nearby prayer hall with M-79 grenade launcher.

That attack killed two people and left three others injured. During that attack, the gunmen also fired on the Aung Tin Win gold shop and with RPG but it did not explode and stuck in the wall of the building.

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