Funeral held for slain STR guard

national April 03, 2014 00:00

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THE RELATIVES of an anti-government campaign guard who was shot dead retrieved his body from a hospital yesterday and escorted it in a small parade to a packed funeral at Wat Sommanas Rajavaravihara.

Wasan Khamwong was shot on Tuesday in an attack on a convoy of vehicles carrying members of the Students and People’s Network for Thailand’s Reform (STR) as it travelled on an expressway in Nonthaburi province. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

A sister of Wasan, Praphaphorn Korpoo, said Wasan last contacted her on Monday. She described him as a patriot and a loyalist.

“I am proud of him for dying in service of the country, and those he leaves behind should be proud of him too,” she said.

Wasan recently quit his career as an Army recruiter based in Buri Ram, before joining the STR as a volunteer guard.

Earlier, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva mourned Wasan and expressed condolences to his family, before denouncing violence against anti-government groups and condemning those responsible. He called on police to look into all political-violence cases.

National Police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew has assigned two senior investigators to handle the probe into Tuesday’s violence, which also saw four protesters wounded by automatic gunfire. He said footage from seven expressway surveillance cameras was being compiled to obtain further details of the attack.

Chalerm Yoobamrung, who is head of the caretaker government’s anti-protest operation, the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order, said he believed such attacks against the anti-government movement would continue, because it had made a lot of enemies. He denied the government was behind violence against anti-government groups.

Asked to comment on the STR leadership’s vow to take steps to pre-empt and to defend itself against further violence, Chalerm said police would arrest protesters found to be in possession of weapons. Police would also investigate statements made by red shirts on social media that appear to show foreknowledge of attacks before they occur, if complaints are lodged against them, the minister said.

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