The Popcorn Gunman, who fatally wounded 4 people, has been sentenced to 37 years in jail. He opened fire in front of numerous witnesses during a political confrontation in 2014.
A judge said, “the court ruled the defendant guilty of murder and handed down life in prison. But because his confession during the investigation was useful, the sentence was reduced by one third to 37 years and four months.”
24-years-old, Vivat Yodprasit, became famous as the Popcorn Gunman for concealing his assault rifle inside a large bag with the logo of a popcorn company. He instantly became a folk hero of the people he was supporting, reported Asian Correspondent. These people wanted to block an election called by the government of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Vivat, the Popcorn Gunman, was found guilty by the criminal court. He was charged for murder and using firearms in public. Initially, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm. However, the judges reduced the sentence as he confessed to the crime. Notably, 1 man was killed and 3 others were injured in the shootings.
The clash happened in Northern Bangkok near the Laksi Plaza department store. The supporters of Shinawatra insisted that election must take place while People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) activist led by militant monk Buddha Issara wanted to block it, as reported by Turkish Weekly.
Initially stones were pelted by both sides. However, things took a nasty turn when a man from Issara’s side armed with an automatic rifle hidden in a popcorn bag started shooting at the pro-election supporters.
Subsequently, the social media sites were flooded with Vivat’s photographs and some PDRC supporters hailed him as a folk hero. Months after the incident the PDRC supporters flaunt T-Shirts emblazoned with the words, “Popcorn Army”. Under the slogan was the picture of the gunman with his weapon hidden in the popcorn bag.
Incidentally, the photographs immensely helped the authorities in identifying and arresting the man a few months after the incident.
Monks are very powerful in the country and lately, there were controversial reports of a monk possessing vintage Mercedes-Benz worth more than US$250,000 (AU$345,000).