Eyewitness speaks out on attack on activist

Following the attack on activist Sirawith “Ja New” Serithiwat on Friday (28 June), Prachatai spoke to an eyewitness who saw the attack. 

Left: Sirawith's mother, with a superimposed picture of Sirawith in hospital
Right: the location of the attack

The witness, who is a nearby food vendor, said she saw Sirawith arrive at the intersection on a motorcycle taxi, before getting off and walking towards her. Sirawith ran out onto the street after he was hit by the first attacker and was then attacked by three more people with wooden sticks even after he fell. She said that all of the attackers wore helmets and jackets, and that she couldn’t see what they looked like, but that she had seen one of them waiting around for a while before Sirawith arrived.

Sirawith was attacked at the entrance to Soi Ram Intra 109 – a crowded public area with many vendors and motorcycle taxi drivers nearby. There are also many cars passing by, and one of the witnesses said that many drivers were blowing their horns at the attackers, and that any dash cams would have caught a footage of the attack.

There are also CCTV cameras around the scene of the attack. Some footage, posted by activist and Future Forward MP Rangsiman Rome, shows two men with wooden sticks arriving on a white motorcycle. They attacked Sirawith, before fleeing on the motorcycle.

A screencap of the CCTV footage. Sirawith is on the right of the picture, wearing a white shirt. 

The attackers fled the scene after the nearby shopkeepers and motorcycle taxi drivers shouted “the police are coming.” The witnesses then helped perform first aid on Sirawith and called the police and an ambulance.

Sirawith was at first taken to Navamin Hospital, before being transferred to Mission Hospital. He sustained head injuries and fractures to his nose and eye socket. A medical examination found no brain damage, and he is now fully conscious. He is to be transferred to Ramathibodi Hospital, where he will be able to see an expert ophthalmologist for his eye injury. There were at first concerns about loss of vision in one of his eyes, but he is now starting to be able to see.

Patnaree Charnkij, Sirawith’s mother, went to Min Buri Police Station on Friday evening (28 June) to report the attack to the police. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) showed on their twitter account three soldiers in uniform waiting in front of the police station at the time.