Police Deny Firing Live Ammunition At Protesters

Police Deny Shooting Protesters
A forensic expert measures bullet holes in a wall near Din Daeng police station during an investigation into a shooting on Monday night. 

Police have denied firing live ammunition at protesters of the Thalu Fah group during chaotic scenes in front of Din Daeng police station on Monday night, saying only rubber bullets were used.

Rajavithi Hospital announced yesterday morning it had found a bullet lodged in the head of a seriously wounded young protester rushed there by ambulance on Monday night.

He remained in a coma yesterday.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau said in a statement yesterday that the man was shot at Din Daeng intersection, heading in the direction of Prachasongkroh intersection, a few kilometres from the police station on Mit Maitri Road.

It was not known who shot him and the man was not carrying any ID. A video clip was posted on social media with a voice-over alleging that at about 8.45pm, Din Daeng police opened fire at protesters with live ammunition and some of them were hit.

Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner Pakkapong Pongpetra said the man seen wielding a gun on top of a building at Din Daeng police station on Monday night was a police officer. However, the officer was holding a rubber bullet gun used to protect the station, he said.

Forensic police were to inspect the scene where the protester was shot yesterday. No experts so far have been able to establish where the shot that injured the protester came from.

“Live ammunition was fired [at the protester] but it did not come from police,” Pol Lt Gen Pongpetra said.

The commissioner said he has ordered an inquiry into the shooting, to be headed by Pol Maj Gen Sukhun Prommayon, the MPB deputy chief.

Also yesterday, Pol Col Rathachai Sriwichai said he would prepare a report for his superiors on the posting of the online video and voice-over allegation. They would decide whether it constituted a violation of the Computer Crime Act.

Footage from closed-circuit cameras in the area showed the man was running from the direction of the nearby Princeton Park Suite Hotel before being shot and collapsing about 50 metres from Din Daeng police station.

He added that a 14-year-old male, presumably also a protester, also sustained a gunshot wound to the shoulder at around the same time. He is being treated at Rajavithi Hospital.

Yesterday afternoon, Thalu Fah protesters assembled at Ratchaprasong intersection before throwing paint at the signboard of the nearby Royal Thai Police. Police responded by firing water cannon.

At around 5pm, a crowd of protesters converged at Din Daeng intersection where they were confronted by the police. The two sides clashed with what sounded like firecrackers going off, followed by thick smoke. Police had set up roadblocks to contain the protesters.