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No death inflicted by crowd control during Songkran mayhem

The House-appointed committee in charge of investigating the Songkran mayhem has completed its report saying the anti-riot operation did not inflict any death casaulties as feared, its chairman Somsak Boonthong said on Friday.

The report will be submitted to House Speaker Chai Chidchob on Monday.

"The finding is clear - no one died because of the crowd control measures," Somsak said.

The committee report was compiled from the findings of seven subcommittees investigating different aspects of the incident.

The members of the committee and its seven subcommittees were appointed on a bipartisan basis comprising opposition and coalition lawmakers as well as independent experts.

Somsak said his committee looked into the riots and related incidents.

In one of the incidents, a conscripted soldier Apinop Kruasuk died from his head concussion while on guarding duty at the offiicial residence of the First Army Region commanding general.

This led to much speculation linking Apinop's death to his leaking of secrets related to the mayhem. But there was no evidence to substantiate such speculation, Somsak said.

He said his committee did not draw any conclusion nor apportion the blame for what had triggered the riots.

The report made a recommendation, however, to legislate a law dealing with public protests, he said. In future protests, there should be anti-riot forces specifically trained and tasked to handle the situation, he added.

Committee secretary Achaporn Charuchinda said the report ruled out the alleged linkage between the anti-riot operation and two bodies dragged up from the Chao Phya.

Based on evidence, the two killed were not red-shirt guards as previously believed, he said.

During yesterday's final committee session to finalise its report, Pheu Thai MP Worawaj Ua-apinyakul tried to add the audio clip allegedly showing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's ordering the crowd dispersal to the list of evidence.

Following a heated exchange on the issue, the committee decided to mention the existence of the audio clip in the annex of the report but did not factor it in the report. 

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