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More police to be deployed near PDRC rally sites after new attacks

Three people were killed and 22 wounded in an M79 grenade and automatic weapon attack early yesterday morning on the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee's protest site near Democracy Monument.

Two people died shortly after the attack, said Erawan Emergency Medical Service. A third victim, whose identity is yet to be revealed, died later yesterday at around 9am at Huachiew Hospital.

Pol Maj-General Wallop Prathummuang, a commander of the Metropolitan Police, said three M79 rounds were fired, possibly from the Khoke Wua intersection, and a group of gunmen fired automatic weapons at a roadblock in the area.

Wallop said it was not known if the shots were fired from M16 assault rifles as speculated in news reports, as no cartridges had been retrieved from the scene.

A police Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit commander, Colonel Kamthorn Auicharoen, said the first M79 round landed in an auto showroom on Din Sor Road, the second on the Baan Din Sor Hotel, and the third at the base of the monument. They were fired from a distance of around 300 metres.

He said the manner of the M79 attacks were similar to earlier attacks on Chulabhorn Research Institute, Siam Commercial Bank headquarters, Government House and a nearby protest site.

The officer said more police would be deployed to nearby vintage points and around the PDRC protest site on Rajdamnoen Avenue.

It was the first M79 attack in the jurisdiction under his command.

Bangkok police chief Lt-General Camronvit Toopkrajank said surveillance camera footage was being viewed to check, with initial footage showing a pickup truck heading to the scene.

He said a meeting of police, soldiers and PDRC guards would be held to discuss joint security plans.

He would ask PDRC guards to immediately let police into the protest site to gather evidence if there were future incidents.

"Please trust the police. The police will not enter the protest site to do something else [other than collect evidence]," he added.

One victim was identified as Surat Thani native Narayos Janphet, 21. His father Paradorn Janphet said the victim was a PDRC guard.

An active policeman, Paradorn said he didn't support political violence or political gathering.

Another victim was identified as Chumphon native Somkhuan Naulkhanai, 51, whose status or role with the PDRC remains unknown.

A PDRC leader, Thaworn Senneam, condemned the attack as outrageously violent and assured the public the PDRC's objectives remained undiminished.


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