Japanese prosecutors have decided not to press charges against a former Bangkok police chief after a loaded gun was found in his checked luggage at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport last month.
Lt. Gen. Kamronwit Thoopkrachang has been in custody in Japan ever since, but was released Monday morning after authorities said they would drop the case.
Komronwit was detained at the airport on his way back to Bangkok after a five-day visit. He served as Bangkok’s police chief from 2012 until 2014, when he retired.
Japanese police said the gun was detected by X-ray check.
Kamronwit reportedly told Japanese authorities that he forgot that he had the gun and ammunition in his bag, and that it was a gift from a friend.
Kyodo News agency says prosecutors could not determine where Kamronwit got the gun or prove his possession was deliberate.
Officials at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport insisted last month that the former police chief went through full security measures on leaving Thailand, presenting pictures at a press conference they said “confirm no guns or ammunition were found”.
Sirote Duangrat, the airport’s director, said: “We did not discover any item that is dangerous to the aircraft.”
He added: “Officials who man the devices went through at least six months of training, and we shift the personnel all the time to prevent exhaustion. Each personnel is an expert in this profession. However, from now on we will increase frequency and intensity of our inspections.”
Kamronwit could have faced maximum prison term of 10 years in Japan if he was convicted.
Additional reporting from Associated Press / Image via ThaiPBS