In memory of Darb Shane, the fearless bomb disposal officer
"Was it Darb (acting sub-lieutenant) Shane?"
The above question was unceremoniously shot at an official at Bacho district of Narathiwat who received the call on Monday October 28 morning. The caller, retired Pol Lt-Gen Amporn Charuchinda, former commissioner of Police Forensic Science Office, placed a call to the restive deep South immediately he was told by reporters that three members of the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) squad were killed in a bomb blast in Bacho district.
Obviously, the retired police officer who was asked by Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, the national police chief, to help out in forensic work in the deep South, was not aware then that one of the dead victims was Darb Shane or Pol Sub-Lt Shane Warongpaisit.
Shane was like a son to Pol Lt-Gen Amporn who, as the boss, taught the former everything he knew about explosives. The teacher-student relationship has developed and bonded them together throughout several years that Shane had worked as a member of EOD in the far South.
A native of Narathiwat by birth, Shane graduated from Region 9 police academy in 1985 and had since served in the South on different capacities such as chief of the village defence unit, chief of the motorcycle patrol unit until he was inducted to 15-day training course in explosives followed by an EOD course in the United States.
Darb Shane was said to be very dedicated to his job. He reportedly had defused between 200-300 bombs in the deep South. He was named an outstanding police officer in a programme organized by the Nation Multimedia group in 2009. Before that, he was also awarded for being an outstanding cop by the National Police Office as well as a model policeman award by the Boonyachinda Foundation. In 2011, he was promoted as a sub-lieutenant.
Shane last assignment was to provide protection on Sunday October 27 on the occasion of the Orphans Day held at Chalerm Phra Kiat auditorium of Narathiwat provincial hall. The event was presided over by Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok.
"I am proud and pleased to receive the awards. I am dedicated to my job because I want to see peace in the three southern provinces because this is my home town. I want everyone to live in peace like before. My working philosophy is to be dedicated to my job for my family and the people so they can sleep well," said Shane during an interview with the Isranews agency a few years ago.
Shane was a rare breed in the EOD. Although the National Police Office has laid down a clear policy guideline that EOD members’ main job is destroy the bombs and to avoid defusing them for safety reason, Shane thought differently.
"Normally bombs are not meant to be defused. In the US, I was taught to destroy bombs., But I think that every bomb is a source of information which can lead to the arrest of the bomb-maker because each bomb-maker will have different technique in making bombs," Shane once said.
"I used to defuse a bomb with my bare hands. Then I had only a pocket knife and a pincers. There was no time and the bomb could cause a lot of damage if there was a delay," said Shane. He added that, on several occasions, he was called to work while he was riding home or was exercising and, sometimes, he tried to defuse a bomb wearing his sport gown.
Shane also caused a big stir among his colleagues when he publicly said that GT200 bomb detector was only 30 percent reliable following a car bomb in Su-ngai Kolok in October 2011.
Despite the life-threatening danger, Shane has never asked to be transferred out of the restive region. "This is our home, if we do not do it, who will do for us?" he once asked.
Ms Pathitta Noosanthad, a reporter of the Nation and Isranews agency, recalled with tears in her eyes the day when Shane’s daughter gave her first aid treatment after she and four other colleagues were wounded in a bomb blast in Ra-ngae district of Narathiwat on October 19.
She said she asked Shane’s daughter about her father whether he was still all right. He was all right that day but certainly not on October 28.
Shane is survived by his wife, Mrs Nanthawan, and two children.
Monday’s bomb blast which killed three members of the EOD squad, including Shane, has brought the death toll of the bomb demolition experts to six this year. Fifteen others were also injured in the course of their dangerous work.