The main suspect in the attacks on grocery chain Tesco Lotus, Nopporn Suwanprueksachart, was involved in arms dealing, according to army information revealed yesterday [Tuesday].

Nopporn had amassed an armoury at his house, while importing war weapons from military officers in neighbouring countries in order to modify and sell them on to the Sri Lankan separatists, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and other minority rebels in Burma.

The source also revealed that he personally knew the army officers embroiled in contractual disputes with Tesco Lotus over their supply of security guards for the chain.

Nopporn died during a standoff with police last Friday, accidentally exploding a grenade in the bathroom in which he had hidden after spraying bullets at Tesco’s Bang Na-Trat store. Evidence has also linked Nopporn to the other attacks on Tesco stores, which started in June this year. On 5 December, the company’s Rama IV store was attacked with an anti-tank rocket and two days later the Bang Na-Trat highway was attacked with a assault rifle.

The police say that as yet they are not sure whether Nopporn worked alone, and they have set up a team under Pol Lt-Gen Thawatchai Pailee to review all the attacks and look for common links.

So far, the police have identified a number of possible motives for the attack, including: conflicts following termination of the security guard supply contract, personal grudges against foreign-controlled companies, or the removal of a motorcycle taxi queue from the store’s premises.