A Pattaya cop almost took one to the hip during a restaurant shootout with a big-time gangster – if not for his smartphone.
Sgt. Maj. Powaret Banjong said Tuesday he was recovering from the encounter at a local hospital in which his iPhone protected him from a bullet fired by a rampaging gunman.
“I have to monitor my condition,” Powaret said from his hospital bed Tuesday.
Somchai “Hia Chai” Sae-chua, 49, who police say is a known criminal element in the city’s Na Kluea subdistrict, was celebrating his birthday late Saturday night, the 15th of September at the popular All New Mouthburi restaurant.
In anger, Somchai pulled out a pistol and fired several times at Powaret, who leapt up on the table and drew his gun as well. One of Somchai’s bullets hit Powaret’s arm and another his upper thigh.
The round struck the iPhone in his pants pocket and protected Powaret.
After taking the two bullets, Powaret fell to the ground and his cop buddy from Prachinburi, Lance Cpl. Naretrak Krueawara, 30, picked up Powaret’s pistol and fired three times at Somchai, wounding him. When the bulletstorm ended, Somchai had been hit in the right temple, arm, stomach and leg. Rescue personnel arrived and were able to save him.
After both the cop and suspect were rushed to the hospital, police spokesman Col. Krissana Pattanacharoen said that Naretrak went to the Pattaya Police Station and filed a report.
Neither policemen will be charged for their involvement since it was ruled an act of self-defense while attempting to defuse a hostile situation. Somchai has been charged with attempted murder and is currently being held in Pattaya Remand prison awaiting trial.