Tuk-tuk taxi driver shot in Songkhla over professional rivalry

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A tuk-tuk driver is in a critical condition after being shot nine times in Songkhla province.

Hat Yai Police Station were alerted to a shooting incident at a taxi stand near Hat Yai train station in Songkhla at 3pm on Sunday (September 13).

At the scene, they found Sao Phuangthong, 40, a tuk-tuk taxi driver, lying on the ground with nine gunshot wounds in the chest and back. He was rushed to Hat Yai Hospital where rescue staff said his condition was critical.

Police have arrested the alleged shooter, Chaowalit Phuthaksin, 40, who is also a tuk-tuk taxi driver, reportedly with a .38 handgun and a brass knuckle at the scene. A relative of Sao, who had witnessed the incident, told officials that the two had a history of getting into arguments which sometimes escalated into fist fights, mainly over who gets customers.

“Before the incident, Sao was calling passengers who had just got off the train to use his tuk-tuk service, when Chaowalit walked from behind and shot him repeatedly, reloaded the gun, and then shot some more until he went down,” she said.

Chaowalit was brought to Hat Yai station where he reportedly confessed that he had shot Sao because he was angry about Sao snatching his customers. He reportedly waited at the scene to turn himself in. Police are interviewing witnesses and are awaiting a report on the victim’s condition before pressing charges against Chaowalit.