Royal Thai Army to pay over 2 million baht compensation for Lahu tribe defender’s death

Picture courtesy of KhaoSod

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) has been ordered to pay over 2 million baht in compensation to the family of Chaiyaphum Pa-sae, a human rights defender from the Lahu tribe, as ruled by the Supreme Court today. This case stems from an incident in 2017 where Chaiyaphum was shot dead by military officials at a checkpoint in Chiang Mai. Despite previous rulings dismissing the case, the Supreme Court made this landmark decision after review.

In the incident on March 17, 2017, military officials stationed at the Rin Luang checkpoint in Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai inspected Chaiyaphum’s car as he was travelling with a friend. RTA officials claimed that Chaiyaphum resisted and assaulted them, leading to the use of firearms in self-defence, resulting in Chaiyaphum’s death.

Following this, Napoi Pa-sae, Chaiyaphum’s mother, filed a lawsuit in 2019 against the RTA, seeking compensation under the 1996 Act on Liability for Wrongful Acts of Officials. Previously, both the lower court and the appeals court dismissed the case, ruling that the actions of the military officials were lawful, reported KhaoSod.

The Pa-sae family later petitioned the Supreme Court, leading to a landmark ruling where the Supreme Court accepted the petition. The court highlighted that the petition raised important issues that should be considered by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ordered the RTA, as the agency responsible for Chaiyaphum’s death, to pay compensation to the family amounting to 2,072,400 baht (US$58,278). This includes funeral expenses of 120,000 baht, mother’s necessities of 1,952,400 baht, and legal fees of 50,000 baht. For the mental anguish compensation claimed by the family, the court ruled that Chaiyaphum needed to be the one to claim it himself. Quite how that is possible only the court can decide. Only in Thailand, as many locals and ex-pats often say about the ridiculousness of some legal cases.

Last year, the Appeal Court ruled that Chaiyaphum wasn’t entitled to any compensation. The court upheld a previous ruling by the Civil Court that dismissed the lawsuit arguing that the RTA paid compensation to the family of Lahu human rights activist Chaiyaphum. To read more about the original story click HERE

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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