Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Violent deaths shake Bangkok to core

– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Death, injury toll jumps after attacks
Phuket Gazette/ The Nation
PHUKET: The number of casualties from political violence over the past three months has surged to 21 dead and 762 people injured nationwide since November 30.

Of this number, 718 were injured in Bangkok, two in Rayong, eight in Pathum Thani and 34 in Trat.

Another policeman died yesterday from injuries sustained during a clash with protesters near Phan Fah Bridge last Tuesday, the Erawan Emergency Centre said.

The centre said Lance Corporal Sarawut Chaipanha died at 12:30pm at the Police Hospital.

In a related development, caretaker Public Health Minister Pradith Sinthawanarong visited patients at Rajavithi Hospital who were injured in the bomb blast in front of the Big C store on Sunday.

“It is time for us to seek a resolution together so no more people die. Bloody violence involving Thais should not take place again,” he said.

A medical workers’ network condemned perpetrators of the violence for using war weapons to kill and injure people.

Father grieving over his children’s deaths chooses to forgive
Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: The father who lost his children to Sunday’s grenade attack says he is engulfed in pain, but feels no anger against the attackers who were apparently targeting the anti-government rally site.

“I am suffering the deepest pain, but have decided to forgive,” Thayakorn Yos-ubol said tearfully.

His two children, Korawich and Patcharakorn, were not among the demonstrators.

They were shopping with their aunt and cousin when they were hit by a grenade that landed in front of a Big C shopping mall on Rajdamri Road on Sunday afternoon.

Korawich was four and his sister six years old.

“I can’t cope with what has happened. My children were so pure and innocent. I really don’t know how long it will take for this wound in my heart to heal,” the devastated father said.

Mr Thayakorn went on to say that he had a simple dream for his children – he just wanted them to grow up and become good members of society.

“But now my dream is dead,” he said as he hugged his wife while waiting to pick up their children’s bodies.

Both children were pronounced dead at Ramathibodhi Hospital – the place they were born.

Korawich passed away on Sunday evening, while his sister succumbed to her injuries on Monday morning. Their nine-year-old cousin, Yothin Cha-aemram, is under intensive care at the same hospital.

Yothin’s mother, Nareerat Chairat, wished she had been hit instead of the children.

“Better me than my nephew, niece and son,” the distraught mother, who was in a wheelchair, said.

She sustained minor injuries from the blast.

Ms Nareerat said she and the children were about to hail a tuk-tuk to head back to Mr Thayakorn’s home when the grenade suddenly landed in their vicinity and exploded.

“I wish it was just a bad dream,” she lamented.

Mr Thayakorn said he hoped all sides would learn from this and bring an end to the chaos.

He said his focus was on holding his children’s funeral rites, which will be held at Phrom-wongsaram Temple (Wat Luang Phor Nane).

Meanwhile, the lawyer representing the relatives of the two men killed in bloody clashes at the Phan Fah Lilat Bridge on February 18 lodged a complaint yesterday at the Criminal Court against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for her alleged role in the violent crackdown on protesters.

The lawsuit also named Chalerm Yoobamrung in his capacity as director of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order, National Police chief General Adul Saengsingkaew, Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith and a few other senior police officers.

Rally sites should be ‘child-free’, Unicef warns
Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: The United Nations and UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) yesterday condemned the political violence in Thailand, particularly attacks over the weekend that claimed the lives of three children.

Unicef’s representative in Thailand, Bijaya Rajbhandari, said areas within and around the protest barricades should become “child-free zones” to ensure there are no further children killed or injured in the political crisis.

He urged the government, plus pro- and anti-government protest leaders and all parents to ensure that children do not enter protest sites and are kept well away from areas where people are rallying.

He also called upon authorities to ensure that those responsible for the attacks are brought to justice.

His statement came after two political-related attacks over the weekend – in Trat and central Bangkok – that claimed the lives of children aged four, five and six and left some others in a critical condition.

“[Unicef] condemns the violence that resulted in these tragic and senseless deaths and injuries to children. These incidents underscore the urgent need to keep children out of harm’s way in order to ensure their safety,” Mr Rajbhandari said.

A five-year-old girl was killed when gunmen attacked an anti-government rally in Trat province on Saturday night, while a four-year-old boy and his six-year-old sister died after a bomb blast in Ratchaprasong on Sunday afternoon.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that he is ready to assist in any way he can to end the political violence in Thailand.

“The secretary-general believes strongly that there is no place for violence by any side in resolving political differences and disputes,” Mr Ban’s spokesperson said.

Army chief urges talks
Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: After a weekend of deadly violence, Army Chief Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday urged all parties to sit down and talk – to try to find a way to prevent the country from plunging into further drama.

In a rare television address on military-run Channel 5, Gen Prayuth reiterated that the army had no intention of playing an active role in forcing a solution to the ongoing political strife.

Meanwhile, caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said in a separate interview that there was nothing better than all sides coming together.

“When violence is used, the pain will eventually be felt by the nation,” she said.

However, the Ms Yingluck said she would not resign as demanded by anti-government protesters, because it would create a political vacuum.

Gen Prayuth, reading from a prepared document, said it was the government that had the primary duty to stop people using violence, and he believed some of those behind the violence were linked to attacks during the 2010 red-shirt protests.

The army is collecting evidence and investigating in order to bring the culprits to justice.
“The army are not afraid of doing duties to bring those responsible for the violence to justice. However, we worry that there would be more casualties, as some groups do not understand and oppose our duties,” he said.< — Phuket Gazette Editors

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