AO MAKHAM: Dozens of protesters today continued to block the road to Cape Panwa with makeshift barricades, following the killing of a local 16-year-old boy. Some of their leaders threatened that if the police case against the boy’s killers is not sewn up by the end of tomorrow they will rally tens of thousands of Muslims from all over the island and block roads right up to Phuket Town, about eight kilometers away. The protest and blockade began yesterday morning after the boy, Madat Hasap, was shot dead by a non-commissioned officer serving with the Royal Thai Navy’s Third Fleet. He had been involved in a dispute with five naval personnel the previous evening. Villagers said they will maintain their current blockade, which prevents access by road to the Cape Panwa Hotel, the Phuket Marine Biological Center and the Royal Thai Navy Third Fleet shore base, until the authorities comply with six demands they have made. The demands were set out in a letter handed to the Governor of Phuket, Pongpayome Vasaputi, yesterday. At the insistence of the villagers, Gov Pongpayome signed the letter, acknowledging receipt of it and agreeing to take action. The demands are: – That legal proceedings against the accused as well as all persons involved with the crime will be pursued until a final judgment is delivered. – That all questioning of the accused and witnesses by the police take place in front of a village committee set up for that purpose. – That all witnesses must be heard, and that points 1 to 3 must be completed by the end of tomorrow. – That if police officers fail to identify the killer before the deadline, the navy base is to be moved elsewhere. In addition, “We will take drastic action against the Navy.” – That no legal action will be taken against any of the protesters. – That the blockade will be lifted only after the reenactment of the killing has taken place. The mob today continued to completely block Sakdidet Rd outside the dead boy’s home, and erected a tent about 4 kilometers further north, restricting traffic to a single lane. Placards at this roadblock warned the Navy not to try to go through. Madat’s sister, 19-year-old Khwanta, told the Gazette, “We will keep the road closed until the police do everything we demand. My brother was killed like an animal. But this is not a case of a dog or a cat. This was a human being. “We have lived here for more than 10 years and it was always peaceful until the Navy base was built four years ago. They’ve never tried to do anything with the community; all they do is go around drunk in their uniforms, late at night, and driving too fast,” K. Khwanta said. “The Navy uses our tax money to buy weapons and then they use those weapons to ambush and kill us,” she added. Navy officials were today unavailable for comment, but Pol Lt Col Veerasilp Kwanseng, Deputy Superintendent of the Phuket Town Police Station, told the Gazette that he had been to the village today to collect as many witnesses as possible in order to expedite the case. Meanwhile, Piyachat Katanyuta, PR manager of the Cape Panwa Hotel, said that guests are being transferred to and from the hotel by boat. “They are being very understanding, and they are not upset because we have another way for them to get in and out.”
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