The content in this page ("Reckless shooting by army officials during the crackdown on Red Shirt demonstrators" by Pipob Udomittipong) is not produced by Prachatai staff. Prachatai merely provides a platform, and the opinions stated here do not necessarily reflect those of Prachatai.

Reckless shooting by army officials during the crackdown on Red Shirt demonstrators

According to Mr. Sarayuth Ampan who was shot by firearm into his arm while hiding himself in the rear part of the white medic van with clear signs, some demonstrators who had started to gather around Bon Kai area on Rama IV Road were running away into Soi Ngam Du Plee, off Rama IV Road. The army officials were chasing after them. As the demonstrators had gone into other smaller lanes, the army officials approached the Pinnacle Hotel’s parking lot where the medic van was parked with its head facing the road.  The male victim was hiding with another female staff member in the back of the van. He was shot in his arm while trying to stretch his arm to turn the light on (to show to the security officials that they were really medic and rescue volunteers, and no demonstrators were hiding inside the van). 

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When the troops arrived, leader of the medic team, Mr. Theerapat Klomkleng was standing right by the van. According to him, one of the officials who looked like the unit commander was standing and shouting at him as they were chasing after the demonstrators who had already disappeared.

“Are you part of those people (the demonstrators)?”, asked the army commander.

The medic team leader said “No, we are medic and rescue team” while opening the door of the van to show that there was no demonstrators hiding inside and holding both of his hands up. Right after his saying so, the other troops who were sitting about 10 meters away from the medic van started to shoot.

The bullet went through almost in the middle of the windshield, destroying a glass panel dissecting between the driver seats and the space for carrying stretchers and equipment behind and went out through the right window pane of the van. The victim lost so much blood as it spilled all over the space in the van. 

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The bullet went through almost the middle of the windshield. It could not be a warning shot.

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The high-velocity bullet went through the glass. 

Blood spilling all over the rear area of the medic van due to massive loss of blood

Blood spilling all over the rear area of the medic van due to massive loss of blood


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Mr. Sarayuth Ampan, the injured medic volunteer

Mr. Theerapat Klomklieng

The medic team leader got on the driver’s seat to take the injured person to hospital. While passing the army column (the only exit there was to pass through the army column), he shouted angrily at the army commander asking why the military decided to shoot, even though he already told them they were medic team. The army commander shouted back “You guys had hurled things at us!” 

It could not be true. The medic van and the three –person team had been standing by since morning near the Thai Red Cross on Rama IV. It was asked to come standby in Soi Ngam Du Plee and decided to pull over their van in the Pinnacle Hotel’s parking lot. On 10 April, when the first crackdown took place, the team leader and the victim said they had helped to bring a couple of hundred of injured military personnel out of the shooting sites around Pan Fah. Since then, they had been standing by in different spots to help people. 

The victim was the first medic and rescue volunteer to have been shot by the military. Later that night, another medic and rescue volunteer from Wachira Payabarn was shot dead with the bullet cutting through his throat. And the night after (15 May), another medic and rescue volunteer from Por Tek Tung Foundation was also shot. Since then, according to the medic team leader, there was some agreement among the rescue teams that they shall wait outside the firing zone for the protesters to bring the injured persons out by motorcycle.  

According to the medic team leader, “At that range and in such circumstances, the security officials could have moved closer to the van and examined if there were any demonstrators hiding. But in this case, they just decided to shoot us right away, though I told their commander that we were just medic people.”

He continued that “The “rules of engagement” touted by CRES (Center for Resolution of Emergency Situation) was just a TV gimmick. They followed none of them, i.e. shooting for self-defense, shooting when the target having in possession of weapons, etc.” 

The government’s Rules of Engagement, as articulated by CRES on 14 May, state that live rounds may only be used as warning shots fired into the air, in self-defense, or when forces can clearly see those the security forces consider as “terrorists”.  

On 17 May during the CRES press conference, Col.Sansern Kaewkamnerd, spokesperson of CRES said that “some people are using the words “the military is killing the people”, to mislead the public. This is definitely not true. The military are tasked only to cordon off the protest area and set up blockades, but to harm the people”.