Protester shot outside Army Club; policeman caught

national January 29, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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AN ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTER was shot and injured outside the Army Club yesterday, where Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Election Commission members were meeting.

The drama occurred at about 2.30pm as the People's Democratic Reform Committee tried to break into the venue on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road to pressure the Yingluck government to step down.

The sound of a gunshot was heard near a flyover opposite the army venue after PDRC protesters lined up in eight rows and stepped towards the club, after guards cut a chain locking the club gate.Chaos then took place after a protester was shot. After the shooting, PDRC protesters rounded up the suspect gunman and seized several items as evidence.

The suspect gunman was caught by irate protesters, who beat him and grabbed his gun. Shortly after a PDRC leader took to a truck equipped with loudspeakers and announced that the suspect gunman was a police officer from Suthisan Police Station.

The man, identified later as Pol Snr Sgt Maj Kongphet Phetkangha, had to be taken to Rajavithi Hospital after being attacked by angry protesters.

The injured protester, Puttichai Wipa, 32, shot in the back into his stomach, was admitted to an intensive care unit at Ramathibodi Hospital for surgery.

On the man or nearby, PDRC guards allegedly found a 11 mm gun with a fully loaded magazine, a motorcycle taxi jacket (number 35 from Bang Sue), a pair of handcuffs, gloves, a mobile phone, a black T-shirt, a motorcycle (Bangkok licence plate number 387), a camera hidden in front of the motorcycle, bullets and cartridges, two communication radios with the name “POL SR SGT MAJ TI” on them.

The protesters asked police to give them back all the evidence they found as they were not confident that officers would carry out their duty honestly. The items were later handed to military officials, to be kept at the Army Club.

Meanwhile a senior metropolitan police said that the suspect gunman, was a police sent for intelligence operation.

Pol Col Charoonkiat Pankaew, a metropolitan police chief, said Kongphet who was assigned to go undercover to gather intelligence about the protest.

However Charoonkiat said he did not order Kongphet to carry gun into the protest site.

Earlier Pol Gen Adul Narongsak, Metropolitan Police's spokesman claimed that Kongphet shot in self-defence after being surrounded by protest security guards.

The guards, Adul said, tried to search Kongphet after seeing him take photos of the protesters. He said Kongphet was part of undercover police team assigned to gather intelligence in the protest.

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