Teenager shot at Din Daeng protest dies after 2-month coma

Warit Somnoi, 15, who was shot following a Din Daeng intersection protest on the night of 16 August 2021, has died after spending 2 months in a coma at Rajavithi Hospital’s intensive care unit.

Footage from in front of Din Daeng Police Station recorded the shooting

Amnesty International reported on 28 October that they were informed of Warit’s death by his mother Nipaporn Somnoi. Warit and another 14-year-old protester were shot with live rounds near Din Daeng Police Station following a protest at the Din Daeng Intersection.

The 14-year-old was reportedly shot while riding a motorcycle past Din Daeng Police Station and sustained minor injuries to his shoulder.  Warit was shot in the neck. The bullet fractured his cervical vertebrae and remained lodged in his brain.

Amnesty International issued a statement offering condolences and demanding that Thai authorities conduct an urgent investigation into the shooting to bring those responsible to justice. Amnesty International Thailand director Piyanut Kotsan said that, even though Warit has died, the investigation must continue, adding that the use of live ammunition against protestors is deeply concerning. She called on Thai authorities to investigate the Din Daeng shootings and protect protesters from third-party violence.

A video clip circulated after Warit was shot showed a person in Din Daeng Police Station shooting at protesters. The superintendent of Din Daeng Police Station claimed that no live rounds were used during the police operation.

On 17 September 2021, the House Committee on Political Development, Mass Communications, and Public Participation released CCTV footages from a camera on Mit Maitri Road showing the two shootings. One clip shows Warit falling to the ground while running along Mit Maitri Road, opposite Din Daeng Police Station. 

Move Forward Party MP Pol Maj Gen Chavalit Laohaudomphan, a member of the House Committee’s working group investigating the two Din Daeng shootings, believes it unlikely that Warit was shot by another protester, as an alley beside the police station was blocked with metal fence, making it impossible for protesters to enter the area.

The working group also found a bloodstain on the ground and more than 8 bullet holes on the wall of the Bangkok City Hall, near where Warit fell.

Pol Maj Gen Chavalit noted that a video clip, filmed from inside an apartment building in the alley next to Din Daeng Police Station, shows a group of men walking out of the alley and repeated fire guns toward the alley entrance. At least 15 shots, in all likelihood coming from two guns, were heard on the video clip. The footage also shows that the group of men subsequently remained in front of Din Daeng Police Station.

Din Daeng Police Station deputy superintendent Pol Lt Col Sophon Yaemchomchuen said that the case file was forwarded to the Metropolitan Bureau.  He was unaware if further progress had been made in the investigation.  On 30 September, the Metropolitan Police announced that they had arrested Chutipong Tidkratok, 28, claiming that he was one of the shooters.

According to Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Chutipong denied all charges, admitting only that he appeared in the video footage. Pol Maj Gen Piya also stated that Chutipong has no connection with the police. 

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