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Police end investigation into brutal attack on activist “Ja New”

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Pro-democracy leader "Ja New" Sirawith Seritiwat in hospitalised following a brutal attack in Bangkok last year - Bangkok Post

Bangkok police have abruptly suspended their investigation into the brutal attack on a political activist and pro-democracy leader in June of last year. Four men beat Sirawith “Ja New” with baseball bats on a main road in Bangkok’s Min Buri area on June 28. Despite having security camera footage of the attack, Bangkok police say they are unable to identify any of the four men. It was the second such attack on the man in a month. Seritiwat himself has expressed disbelief.

Sirawith posted on Facebook that his family received a letter of notification from police, which read (in Thai): “The investigation into the case has already been completed and the probe report was forwarded to public prosecutors, who recommended that ‘the investigation should be halted’ on the grounds that evidence gathered could not identify who was involved.

“CCTV footage was not clear enough to capture the faces of the attackers so that arrest warrants could be issued. An examination of CCTV recordings could not provide any clue where the attackers stayed or fled to. If the police investigating the case find substantive evidence to identify the offenders, arrest warrants will be issued and legal action taken.’’

In his post, Sirawith demanded to know when when the investigation would continue and his attackers brought to justice. He wondered police might be involved. The post drew sympathy and encouragement from supporters, many roundly criticising police for failing to arrest the assailants despite the clear surveillance camera footage showing the attack.

“Ja New” suffered serious injuries in an earlier attack when he was beaten with baseball bats by four men about 11am on June 2. His external injuries included a fractured eye socket, bleeding in the eyes and a broken nose. He was rushed to intensive care at hospital where a brain scan showed no hemorrhaging. He was conscious, but could not respond.

The following day, Future Forward Party MP Rangsiman Rome said he had obtained security footage showing four men violently attacking Sirawith. Rangsiman wrote on his Facebook page that he and two other party MPs had visited and inspected the scene of the attack and spoken to vendors and motorcycle-taxi drivers in the area, who confirmed the details of the attack.

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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