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Bangkok police threaten to use full riot-control equipment at future rallies

Maya Taylor




Following confirmation that several officers were injured at a pro-democracy rally in Bangkok on Wednesday, the Metropolitan Police Bureau says it may resort to using full riot-control equipment in future. This would imply a return to the water cannon and tear gas deployed by police late last year.

Pakapong Pongpetra from the MPB says 7 police officers were injured by protesters firing objects in their direction at a rally at the Pathumwan Intersection in the capital on Wednesday. Protesters were calling for the release of 4 pro-democracy activists, who’d had their bail requests turned down. Pakapong says that, in addition to his officers being injured, 8 police cars and a police motorbike were damaged.

According to a Nation Thailand report, he has denied that officers deployed the tear gas which hit protesters, as well as nearby reporters and passersby, saying the police would always issue a warning prior to using tear gas. He says an investigation is underway to determine the source of the teargas, as well as the origin of smoke bombs found at the site. He admits these do match the ones used by police but says they may have been stolen from officers during previous operations.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand


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  1. Avatar

    Grumpy John

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11:22 am

    “He says an investigation is underway to determine the source of the teargas, ” Oh yer, available at every mum and pop store in the country….NOT! The police own this one. Saying it was previously stolen is a crock…..

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 3:59 pm

      Sorry, G J, but there could (COULD) be some truth to it, particularly as he reportedly said it was the “smokebombs” that may have been stolen.

      … and while not “available at every mum and pop store in the country” they’re far more available than you may think.

      You can buy “smoke bombs” legally on the ‘net for paintball, exactly the same stock as the Army and police, and although illegal I bought some tear gas sprays at Foodland in Pattaya, at the pharmacy counter – “Cannon Anti-Attack PAVA incapacitant spray” (more potent than CS – I’ve got one in front of me now, which is always clipped on my bicycle in case of errant dogs) – and while Foodland may not have them any more they’re very easy to get at any camping shop, or anywhere selling knives, laser sights, and so on, or “Army surplus” stores, particularly around Bangkok.

      Have a look at the vids of the mobs here and in Hong Kong (and at the occasional football game) and you’ll see plenty of smoke being thrown by the crowds.

      A lot is used in training, with the same stock used by the military and the police, and it’s perfectly possible that some goes “missing” in training and can’t be accounted for – bear in mind that kids at many of the schools and unis not only have Scouts and Guides but also have Ror Dor / Army cadets; very popular at the “middle class”, hi-so and private / international schools and at unis – not because those in it want to join the Army, but the complete opposite as it excuses those doing it from conscription. Plenty of access to smoke grenades, less but some access to tear gas, and all of it “expendable” as nothing has to be returned.

      You’d be surprised! 😮

      • Avatar


        Friday, February 12, 2021 at 5:24 pm

        I am not surprised by your support of the junta yet again.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Friday, February 12, 2021 at 10:41 pm

          Not supporting anyone, I would have thought rather obviously, just pointing out a couple of things that may have been missed.

          Sorry if that doesn’t match your agenda.

      • Avatar


        Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11:58 pm

        It’s a good thing that the “protesters” are not following Trump’s tactical plan, otherwise they would be storming the Palace.

  2. Avatar

    Graham White

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11:57 am

    Has anyone in this country got any respect left for the police?

    • Avatar


      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 12:24 pm

      You will have when these thugs start their mischief unchecked, and your
      windows go through.

      • Avatar


        Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 7:07 am

        I bet you rolling over them with Tanks and letting them fall on a handful of bullets is more to your style right Slugger?

    • Avatar

      Dave Macarelli

      Sunday, February 14, 2021 at 5:27 am

      Both the administration and the police are suffering from all time highs, in both the lack of popularity, approval, and support. The draconian response to the protests is hurting them in ways they cannot comprehend. May the youth prevail over the dinosaurs. They are the only future this nation has.

  3. Avatar


    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    Thugs your a fool slugger these people put thier life and freedom on the line for a better Thailand so if nothing constructive to say go back to your sewer

  4. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 4:14 pm

    Fair enough, Ian, but whether you appreciate it or not the police have a job to do, whether here or controlling riots and demos in the UK or anywhere else, and they’re putting their “life and freedom on the line” too and it’s up to their commanders to minimise the risks they take.

    The demonstrators have a choice about whether to go to a demo or not and whether to “put their life and freedom on the line” – the police don’t, and I’m not talking about Thai police here but any police.

    These things work both ways.

    • Avatar


      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 5:27 pm

      Issan John you really are shameless, it’s getting to be really annoying to see you defending these terrible people, how much do you get paid by the way?

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, February 12, 2021 at 10:45 pm

        Maybe if you read what’s written you may understand it.

        Probably not, though, so there’s no point in trying to explain it.

    • Avatar


      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11:13 pm

      IJ, have you ever considered that the demonstrators truly believe that they have NO choice other than to demonstrate their opposition to the Military Junta who, on the face of it, are slowly eroding democracy from Thailand and returning the country to a Military Dictatorship under the guise of defending democracy? A bit like what is happening more overtly over the border right now. They feel that if they do not protest then the world will think that they accept what the Junta are doing to them. It is about defending their rights and freedoms which are under threat. As a retired police officer I take your point about the police, but they should be defending democracy and the rights of the people, as should the armed forces, but by constantly issuing threats against the people, their tactics are so wrong, they can cause more problems than they solve.

    • Avatar

      Dave Macarelli

      Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 12:48 am

      The cops here are engaging in the oppression of democratic protests. How do you defend that? Of course a few will get hurt, if they confront a large crowd. Power to the youth.

  5. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 8:42 pm

    Let’s hope the demonstration numbers swell and the crowd exercise violence towards these ‘NAZIS”, masquerading as ‘police’. If the police are threatening ‘full force’ okay… bring it on!!!! Young Thai people have had enough of all this ‘control’. Up the ‘anti’ and let’s see what kicks off!

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, February 12, 2021 at 10:59 pm

      That would be completely counter-productive.

      The demonstrators have very limited active public support at the moment, from a very small demographic, however much sympathy many may have for what they’re saying.

      They’re trying to broaden their base to get more people out on the streets to join them, which means they need to appeal to different ages and classes.

      Upping the ante and raising the level of violence would be the worst possible thing they could do at the moment, and the nearest you’ve ever got to anything like this, on either side, is obviously at closing time.

      Mindlessly short-sighted.

  6. Avatar


    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    I.j. there commanders couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery but yes I agree the poor puppets have to listen to them even if they don’t agree and I tell you now there is 2 in my girlfriend’s family and they support the students and one is a commander, I agree totally with your comments as well Jim and joe

  7. Avatar

    Peter Nielsen

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    It is much better with democracy. The people in power now are not making human or intelligent politics. I support the protesters fully.

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    Ian, I’m rather confused how you can “agree totally with Jim and Joe” when Jim’s just said that two of your gf’s family are “NAZIS”.

    As you seem to appreciate but Jim and Joe clearly don’t, it’s not the police or the military’s place to pick sides, regardless of who they support – that’s how the police and military get involved in coups in the first place and why the cycle continues.

  9. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 1:12 am

    Pedro, if you bothered to read any of my comments you’d notice that I’ve never disagreed with what the demonstrators are saying or even so much as hinted at that.

    You’d also notice that rather than just shout a lot of hot air about “NAZIS” and “dictators” and the alleged “junta” I prefer to explain why the constitution is the way it is and why, rightly or wrongly, it WAS approved by popular referendum (by 61%) in 2016 as was the method of choosing a DEMOCRATICALLY elected PM.

    You may not agree with that system, and FWIW neither do I, but the fact remains that that WAS the system that a clear majority of people voting on it chose – 58% – so, like it or not, by any definition, that makes it “DEMOCRATIC” – and a lot more democratic than most.

    I couldn’t disagree with you more strongly about the role of the police and the military, as going down that path is EXACTLY why countries, including Thailand, have coups.

    It is NOT, absolutely NOT, under any circumstances, the role of the police or the military to “defend democracy and the rights of the people”, here or anywhere else.

    Look at the May 22 2014 coup, and that was EXACTLY what the then Army Commander (now PM) claimed to be doing to justify the coup – to “defend democracy and the rights of the people”.

    The military and the police should never have that option or responsibility, as it justifies the military and the police seizing power, any time they see fit.

    You may not mean to (I’m sure you don’t) but by saying that’s what the Army and Police “should” be doing you’re excusing, justifying, and legitimizing the 2014 coup that led to the present government, led by the present PM.

    • Avatar


      Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 2:04 am

      IJ, you are so wrong in si many things. I am totally NOT justifying the 2014 coup, or any removal of a democratically elected government. I am saying the exact opposite. I knew my role as a police officer. Were you one? If not then how would you know?> The role of the police IS ABSOLUTELY to protect the rights of the people, that is why we train the 1948 UNDHR to Police Officers. Even when you disagree with what the people are protesting about, you defend their right to protest by allowing them to do it in safety according to the law and their human rights. Just because the Military and Police misuse or abuse the principle and use it as an excuse to stage a coup does not change the actual reality of the principle involved. You are so wrong in how you read the role of the police. Protection of life and property and serving the people is the basic task of the police. If the police do not protect the public, then who will? BTW 61% of 58% is well less than half of the population (only about 40%) voting in favour of the current constitution.

      • Avatar


        Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 5:22 am

        But I agree, that is democracy as they had the chance to vote for or against the constitution but chose not to, although I guess a lot of them did not think it would make any difference, or only voted for it to get rid of the Military Junta.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 5:04 pm

          Sadly, Pedro, all you can do is “guess” as while you (and others) are happy to do a lot of tub-thumping about “the Military Junta” and “democracy” you can’t even be bothered to do Thais and Thailand the basic courtesy of checking whether any of what you “guess” is true.

          If you’d taken some genuine interest instead of just tub-thumping, you’d know that there were two questions in the 2016 referendum on the constitution, which had a 59% voter turnout BTW, and you’d recognise that the “61%” was the percentage who approved the first question (“Do you approve or disapprove of the draft constitution?”) and the “58%” was the percentage who approved the second (“Do you approve that for contributing continuity of the country reform according to the national strategic plan, it should be stipulated in the Transitory Provisions of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand that for the duration of 5 years from the first sitting of the National Assembly under this constitution the joint sitting of the two chambers of the National Assembly shall convene to consider approving a person to be appointed as the Prime Minister?”).

          But you didn’t take any genuine interest, so you didn’t know.

          I’m not defending the government in any way, just presenting the facts – and I do mean “facts”.

          In my view the referendum was an absolute CROCK, as I’ve said here several times, since very few people had the chance to actually read the constitution they were voting on, opposition groups to the constitution were barred from formally campaigning against it, and those who did were arrested, detained, and prosecuted in military courts, while the NCPO trained some 350,000 canvassers that it sent out across the country and banned any attempts at election monitoring. FWIW, that’s not just my view of what happened, as the UN Secretary General’s phone call of 20 June 2016 (on UN record) made clear as did Human Rights Watch’s update on 23 June 2016.

          If people here had a better grasp of the facts they may have a better understanding of Thais, Thailand and Thai politics, but … well … they don’t.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 4:06 pm

        No surprises there, Pedro – when you stuff up your case then start off with an ad hominem and follow it up by claiming to be an expert so privy to insider knowledge that you hope no-one else has.

        Sometimes works, but it fails pretty dismally if you continue to stuff up and get not only your basic facts wrong about your own experience but all the facts wrong that you should have known if you had the faintest idea about your case – something most who’ve been in the police in any capacity would know if they’d ever had to give evidence in court or write the simplest police report.

        The “role of the police”, their “basic task”, is simple and common to every police force in the world, taught in every police college – to uphold the law. Nothing else, no if’s or but’s, no more and no less. TO UPHOLD THE LAW.

        That’s not just my view, but it’s given in every recognised definition of the role of the police and in every police training manual on the subject.

        Your view, on the other hand, isn’t in any recognised definition or in any police manual. Odd that … or not.

        Everything else, from “protecting the rights of the people” to “defending democracy” and “serving the people” is either a constraint on that role or little more than a PR soundbite.

        The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for example, is one of those constraints which is why it’s taught to many police in training – odd that after being taught it you thought it was the UNHDR rather than the UDHR, as anyone familiar with it would know … or not.

        “If the police do not protect the public, then who will?”

        The government.

        Protecting the public is the first duty of government, nobody else, written in to most countries’ constitutions and frequently repeated by the world’s politicians. It’s best known in the US constitution, but it’s in most others including all Thailand’s going back to 1932 (pre-dating the 1948 UDHR).

        In Thailand’s current (2016) constitution it’s spelt out in Section 4: “The human dignity, rights, liberty and equality of the people shall be protected”.

        Whether Thailand’s government is doing that or not is arguable and a different matter, but it IS the government’s job, here and everywhere else, NOT that of the police – again, that’s not my opinion, it’s simply fact.

        • Avatar


          Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 4:33 pm

          Now I know why so many observers on these pages think you are a self important opinionated windbag IJ, whereas I had always given you the benefit of the doubt. Not any more. Asking you to evidence your expertise in policing as opposed to mine was simply in order to validate your comments. Modern day policing goes far beyond just simply upholding the law, but seeing as human rights are now enshrined as laws or the constitution in most countries, then protecting them IS upholding the law. You have proven my point, thank you. My use of initials I use for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights comes from time spent with the UN. Rightly or wrongly (in your view) it is how I refer to them but hardly worthy of the righteous indignation you proclaim, but hey you got one right so celebrate. Finally, whilst being a Government Institution, in a democracy the police must remain independent of Government in upholding the law. As can be seen, Governments do not always protect their own citizens. but every day policing does. End of.

          • Avatar

            Issan John

            Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 5:31 pm

            Pedro, this is the “comments” section of the Thaiger.

            You can’t “evidence your expertise in policing” here any more than I can, or you can “evidence” that you’ve already led a manned expedition to Mars.

            If your comments need “validating” by alleged “expertise”, real or imagined, rather than being able to stand on their own merits then they’re worthless.

            “Seeing as human rights are now enshrined as laws or the constitution in most countries” that doesn’t prove your point, thank you, it’s just more “proof”, if any were needed, that you were talking absolute bollox.

            As for your “time spent with the UN” accounting for you thinking that the UDHR was somehow called the “UNHDR” – oh perleeze 😮 .

            It isn’t “my view” that the UDHR is called the UDHR, that’s sjust what it is.

            I also have “time spent with the UN”, FWIW, being overpaid and underworked, but it didn’t make me refer to being UNdressed or going to UNiversity.

            You were talking absolute bollox, which you tried to justify by real or imagined time spent “as a police officer”. “End of”

  10. Avatar

    Roger C

    Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    I wish this “news outlet”would limit the size of people’s posts.

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