Govt pays out more than Bt641m to Tak Bai victims
The government has paid more than Bt641 million to victims wounded in the Tak Bai incident, and to the families of those killed during the violent crackdown by the Thai Army on protesters nine years ago this day.
The amount is in addition to Bt42 million paid in compensation by the Army in 2007 to the injured and to families of the deceased.
A total of Bt641.4 million has been paid - Bt561.1 million to families of 85 people killed, Bt60.4 million to 49 of those injured, and Bt6.3 million to a person disabled in the incident, according to the Isra News Agency.
Another Bt11.4 million was also paid to 766 people, who were detained as a result of the crackdown and later released, while an additional Bt2 million has been paid to 58 people who were sued by the government, but from which prosecutors later withdrew the cases against them.
A number of those affected still have not claimed their compensation.
Compensation by the government was pushed for by the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre, according to the news agency, which specialises in issues involving the Muslim-majority southern border region.
On October 25, 2004, several hundred people protested outside the Tak Bai district police station in Narathiwat against the arrest of six village defence volunteers accused of filing false reports about the theft of their government-issued guns.
Seven protesters were killed in a clash with police, while many others were arrested and transported in military trucks to a Thai Army camp in the neighbouring province of Pattani, about 150 kilometres away. The protesters, who spent more than five hours in the trucks, were piled face-down on top of each other, with their hands tied behind their backs.
The long journey and the fact that most of them were forced to lie on top of each other, was blamed for the deaths of another 78 people. Many of those who survived the ordeal became paralysed. Thaksin Shinawatra, who was serving as prime minister at the time of the incident, claimed that fatigue due to fasting during the holy month of Ramadan, was the main cause behind the many deaths.