Police finish investigation of 1 of 16 deaths allegedly caused by authorities in April-May last year

A police team investigating the deaths of 16 people allegedly killed by the authorities between April and May last year has finished and forwarded the case of Charnnarong Polsrila to the prosecution, and it expects to finish two more cases, including that of the Japanese reporter Hiroyuki Muramoto, by this week.

On 17 Nov, Deputy Metropolitan Police Commissioner Pol Maj Gen Anuchai Lekbamrung, head of the team, said that he had sent the autopsy report on Charnnarong Polsrila to the public prosecutor.  The report includes additional documentary and oral evidence and is the result of collaboration between police investigators and public prosecutors from start to finish.  The prosecution has 30 days to consider it, and can have the deadline extended twice, each time for 30 days.  The police did not include its opinion in the report as the Department of Special Investigation had already given its opinion from the outset that the death was believed to have been caused by the authorities, he said.

He expected that by this week his team would finish two more cases, which include the cases of Mana At-ran and Hiroyuki Muramoto who were shot and killed on 10 April 2010 inside Dusit Zoo and near the Democracy Monument respectively.

‘In addition, family members of 4 other people who were killed during the clashes near the Democracy Monument and at Khok Wua intersection [on 10 April 2010], have asked us to also investigate their cases.  We’ve had their testimony and have collected evidence.  And we are now asking the DSI to consider whether these deaths might have been caused by the authorities, and if they find this likely, they should send the cases to Metropolitan Police investigators to make a new file,’ he said.

Charnnarong Polsrila, a taxi driver, was shot in the stomach at a gas station on Ratchaprarop Rd near the red shirts’ protest site at Ratchaprasong intersection on 15 May. 

Charnnarong Polsrila (with a slingshot)

According to his wife Suriyan who was interviewed by Khaosod newspaper on 29 Aug, she and her husband joined the red-shirt protests in March-May 2010 at the Phan Fa Bridge and Ratchaprasong intersection as they saw that the rise to power of former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva was not legitimate, ‘the theft of democracy from the people.’

Every morning she would ride in her husband’s car to the protest site at the Phan Fa Bridge or Ratchaprasong intersection and stay there until dusk when her husband came to pick her up to return home.  Whenever the number of protesters was small, she would spend the night at the protest site.

On the day Charnnarong was killed, she was at the protest site at Ratchaprasong intersection.  She tried to phone her husband to come to pick her up, but could not reach him.  She was worried as at that time there were some clashes around the protest site. 

On the morning of 17 May 2010, a neighbour showed her a Khaosod newspaper which had a photo of Charnnarong being carried by two men, one under each arm, and told her that he had been shot on Ratchaprarop Rd.  She then tried to contact emergency centres and hospitals near the site, but could not find him.  Her daughter posted information about him on Facebook and Twitter in the hope that someone might have heard about him.  On 19 Nov, her daughter finally found his body at Ramathibodi Hospital.

‘Later, [my daughter] met Nick Nostitz, an independent German journalist, who met my husband when he was shot.  We heard from Nick that my husband had only a slingshot and begged for his life when he was shot.  He was taken by the military and died later.  According to a post mortem, he was shot with two high-velocity bullets in the arm and abdomen destroying the internal organs,’ Suriyan said.  [See Daughter of a slain red shirt hears story of father from Nick Nostitz and Testimonies of victims of April-May crackdowns]

She and Charnnarong originally came from Sakon Nakhon in the northeast to live in Bangkok many years ago.  Her husband drove a taxi to earn a living to take care of her and their two daughters and pay 5,000 baht a month instalments on the car.

After the loss of her husband, she was left with debts for the house and car.  She has received some financial assistance from the Bureau of the Royal Household, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and the Rights and Liberties Protection Department of the Ministry of Justice.

Now she has opened a small coffee shop at her own house in Sai Mai district.

Mana At-ran, about 20, was an employee of Dusit Zoo.  On the night of 10 April 2010, he and his uncle were on night shift taking care of the pen with large turtles.  The zoo was one of the places that the military was using as a resting place for its troops.  When he and his uncle finished the shift and were leaving, he was shot with a high-velocity bullet in the back of his head exiting through the front.

The 16 cases include:
1 Hiroyuki Muramoto, shot in the right chest exiting through the left shoulder at the Democracy Monument on 10 April.
2 Rop Suksathit, shot in the top of the right shoulder exiting through the right chest at Wat Pathumwanaram on 19 May.
3 Mongkol Khemthong, shot in the right chest at Wat Pathumwanaram on 19 May.
4 Suwan Sriraksa, shot in the left chest at Wat Pathumwanaram on 19 May.
5 Chatchai Chalao, shot in the forehead in front of the U Chu Liang Building on Rama IV Rd on 13 May.
6 Bunmee Rermsuk, shot in the stomach in front of Rabiang Thong restaurant, Bon Kai, Rama IV on 14 May.
7 Charnnarong Polsrila, shot in the stomach at a gas station on Ratchaprarop Rd on 15 May.
8 Private Narongrit Sala, shot in the head in front of the National Memorial on Vibhavadee Rangsit Rd on 28 April.
9 Kunakorn Srisuwan, 13, shot in the back exiting through the stomach at Soi OA Cinema on Ratchaprarop Rd.
10 Phan Khamkong, shot in the left upper arm cutting a major blood vessel in front of IDO condominium near the Airport Link on 15 May.
11 Mana At-ran, shot in the back of the head inside Dusit Zoo on 10 April.
12 Kiatikhun Chatweerasakul, shot in the left chest under the expressway at Rama IV Rd on 16 May.
13 Prachuab Prachuabsuk, shot in the left chest under the expressway at Rama IV Rd on 16 May.
14 Atthachai Chumchan, shot in the back exiting through the chest at Wat Pathumwanaram on 19 May.
15 Kamonkade Akkhahad, shot in the back and the head at Wat Pathumwanaram on 19 May.
16 Akkharadet Khankaew, shot in the right arm exiting through the right cheek at Wat Pathumwanaram on 19 May.


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