Thai police on Thursday said that they had arrested five red shirts suspected of being “men in black” who allegedly attacked the military near the Democracy Monument in April 2010, resulting in 26 civilian and military deaths. Police said they were paid by red-shirt activist Kritsuda Khunasen
, who accused the military of torturing her during her illegal detention, Thai media reported.
Pol Gen Somyos Pumpanmuang on Thursday told the media that the police had arrested five red shirts:
- Kittisak Soomsri, 45, a Bangkok native
- Preecha Yooyen, 24, from northern Chiang Mai Province
- Ronnarit Suricha, 33, from northeastern Ubon Ratchathani Province
- Chamnan Pakeechai, 45, from Bangkok
- Punika Chusri, 39, from Bangkok
Two other suspects, Wattanachok Jenepui, and Thanadetch Eakapiwat, were still at large.
They were accused of using weapons to attack military officers during the night of 10 April 2010. One of those killed was Col Romklao Thuwatham.
Earlier Human Rights Watch issued a statement
, calling on the Thai authorities to disclose the whereabouts of Kittisak, who was arrested on September 5.
On 10 April 2010, the military were trying to disperse red-shirt supporters at the Democracy Monument and Khok Wua intersection from before noon. There was a brief clash between the military and the red shirts. However, after sunset, unknown militants appeared, dressed in black and some with an identifying red-shirt ribbon. Among 26 deaths, five were army officers and one was a Reuters cameraman.
Violence erupted again on 19 May 2010 when the military used live bullets and snipers to “encircle” the red-shirt demonstrators.
Somyos said the motives of the suspects were political ideology and their hatred toward the then Abhisit Vejjajiva government.
The police officer added that the suspects were related to Kritsuda Khunasen as the police found several bank transfer slips to the suspects’ bank accounts in Kritsuda’s house.