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Thai 'popcorn gunman' says he was hired by protesters

BANGKOK--A Thai gunman who gained national notoriety after opening fire at a political clash with an assault rifle in a popcorn bag said Thursday he had been hired by anti-government protesters.

Wiwat Yodprasit, who was arrested Wednesday and faces charges of attempted murder and possession of a gun, told reporters he had been trained to use the M16 rifle by the protesters' private security guards.

The 24-year-old said he was paid US$9 a day to act as a guard for the movement, which is backed by the Bangkok-based establishment and wants to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

“The head of protest security gave me an M16 to use ... I fired 20 bullets. I used the popcorn bag to keep the bullet casings from falling to the ground,” Wiwat told a press conference.

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