Thai tyrant’s son blames shadowy figure for student massacre

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Colonel Narong Kittikachorn, once notorious as one of Thailand’s three tyrants of the 1970s, passed away yesterday morning at the age of 90 in Bangkok’s Phramongkutklao Hospital. Hospital officials confirmed he had been receiving treatment in the intensive care unit.

Born on October 21, 1933, Narong was the son of the infamous Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn and the son-in-law of Field Marshal Praphas Charusathien. In a controversial move, Narong helped his father and father-in-law stage a coup on November 17, 1971, against Thanom’s government, under the pretext of combating communist threats.

Following the coup, Narong became the secretary-general of the ruling committee and was also the commander of the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the 11th Infantry Regiment.

Narong, seen as Thanom’s successor, was fiercely condemned by student activists and labelled part of the tyrannical trio. The student-led uprising on October 14, 1973, resulted in the deaths of 77 activists and the overthrow of Thanom’s regime, forcing Narong and his family to flee to the United States and Singapore.

Despite allegations that he used a military helicopter to shoot down student protesters with a machine gun, Narong vehemently denied these claims. He eventually returned to Thailand and ventured into politics, securing a seat as an MP for the Seri Niyom Party twice.

In a striking interview on the 40th anniversary of the October 14 uprising, Narong claimed the student activists had been manipulated.

“I felt sorry that they were being used as political tools.”

He recounted how his father-in-law had ordered him to arrest the activists on October 10, 1973, but he refused, fearing it would lead to greater turmoil. Narong expressed sympathy for the students, asserting he never saw them as enemies, reported The Nation.

“Someone misled those students.”

Narong claimed that a shadowy figure orchestrated the chaos that culminated in the tragic events of 1973.

In related news, a court in Nakhon Si Thammarat officially declared activist Surachai Danwattananusorn missing, igniting concerns over his fate after years of silence since his exile in Laos in 2018.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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