Bangkok rescue volunteers brawl over territory

A fight broke out between rescuers, photo by Thai Rath.

It turns out, turf battles happen even among rescue volunteers.

Rescue volunteer teams from Ruamkatanyu and Petchkasem foundations brawled over territory on Monday night following a motorcycle accident on Bamrung Road, TV Channel 7 reported.

The teams initially attempted to negotiate but the talks turned into an argument, leading to members of both groups attacking each other. More rescuers from both foundations then arrived and joined the battle.

Around 10 to 20 police officers from Samran Rat, Nang Loeng, and Royal Palace stations, among others, rushed to the scene to break up the fight.

Pol. Col. Ekarat Pao-in, deputy chief of Metropolitan Police Division 1, said representatives of the two foundations went to Nang Loeng Police Station to report the incident. They were told to return the next day to resolve the problem of overlapping boundaries and put an end to these turf battles.

The two foundations’ rescuers have clashed frequently, with the worst incident being near the 70th pier off Kaset Nawamin Road, where shots were fired and some were injured. Police found several bullet casings at the scene.

After that incident, representatives of the two foundations held talks and reached a truce, but small clashes continued to occur. While the two foundations have been holding talks to try to end the violence, the Public Health Ministry and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration have not taken the problem seriously, according to Pol. Col. Ekarat.

The executive director of Ruamkatanyu Foundation, Patiya Wibulnan, said that several people were injured in the latest clash with Petchkasem rescuers, and it is uncertain when another fight would start, or how violent it would be. Patiya added that gunshots are possible, as happened on Kaset Nawamin road.

He appealed to relevant agencies, including the Metropolitan Police, Erawan Emergency Medical Centre of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and the Public Health Ministry to work seriously on settling the boundary lines.

Bangkok NewsCrime News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.