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Grenade fired from M-79 target rally site

In another case targeting anti-government protesters, a grenade round was fired from an M-79 into a rally site near the Lat Phrao intersection at 3am yesterday, injuring a protester and damaging two vehicles.

It was the first time, a grenade was fired from an M-79 to target a rally site since the start of the "Bangkok shutdown" campaign. The M-79 rounds were fired extensively on various sites by the red shirts in 2010, but not near their area of activities.

The M-79 rounds were also used against the anti-Thaksin Shinawatra yellow-shirt movement during their 2008 campaigns and occupation of Government House.

A source from the intelligence service said the use of an M-79 grenade launcher was a tactic aimed at intimidating protesters into dispersing or retracting their support for various anti-government groups. "Those behind last night's attacks were likely the same people behind the attacks on the yellow-shirt movement or during the red-shirt protests in Bangkok," the source said.

A team of explosive-ordnance disposal officers later inspected the scene. The grenade had landed at a ventilation station owned by the operator of the MRT subway system.

A senior crime-scene inspection officer, Pol Maj-General Thawatchai Mekprasert, said the grenade was probably launched from a site northeast of nearby Chatuchak Park.

Meanwhile, junior police officer accused of shooting at a crowd of protesters, and a group of protesters who reportedly attacked the officer following the shooting, will all face charges, Bangkok police chief Pol Lt-General Camronwit Toopgrajank said yesterday. The protesters would be charged with assaulting Pol Sr Sgt-Major Khongphet Phetkangha, and he will be charged with firing at the crowd, he said, adding that details of the charges and if they will be filed individually will be decided soon.

Khongphet is safe but still unable to provide a statement. Camronwit said the officer had been assigned to gather intelligence at a rally site in front of the Army Club, where protesters had gathered and threatened to enter the compound to disrupt a meeting between the Election Commission and government figures.

Khongphet was transferred yesterday from Rajavithi Hospital to the Army-run Phramongkutklao Hospi-tal, police spokesperson Sirikul Sri-san-ga said. Police had earlier requested that Khongphet be treated at Police General Hospital.

Rajavithi Hospital later issued a statement saying Khongphet and his relatives had asked that he be moved to the Army-run hospital.


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