Notes on the bombings

20 01 2014

Like everyone else, PPT is deeply concerned about the spate of bombings and shootings in recent days. And, like those others, we don’t know much about the motives, intentions and culprits. So we thought some notes from the events might be of some use for readers.

On the first bombing, which left one dead and 38 injured, it was reported at the Bangkok Post that anti-democracy boss Suthep Thaugsuban stated that “he holds the caretaker government responsible for the grenade attack yesterday on demonstrators taking part in a march and vowed to once again escalate his anti-government protest.”

In the same report, police were said to have “raised questions about the incident in which protester guards blocked police and reporters entering the area near the attack scene where they claimed they found a weapons stockpile…. Police also queried the last-minute change in the protest route.” It is added that: “Military police led by Col Noppasit Sitthipongsopon, of the 1st Cavalry Infantry, inspected the scene with PDRC guards while police officers were booed and jeered by the protesters. Reporters were also prevented from entering the building.”

Later, at the Bangkok Post, it was reported: “Police are seeking two men, one believed to be an aide of a former Democrat MP, seen in a video clip of the grenade explosion that killed one protester and injured scores of others in the rally at Banthat Thong Road on Friday afternoon.”

Suthep not only held the government responsible in the way that Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha did, but went further:

“The blood that spilt on the street is piercing my heart. What it [the government] has done to the Thai people is cold-blooded. Let the pain remind us and give us strength to fight until we win,” Mr Suthep told protesters at the Lumpini stage.

He denied he had been behind the grenade attack himself…. “I am not that kind [of person]. I don’t kill my own supporters,” he said.

According to Mr Suthep, the incident showed that the prime minister was not stupid, but a “demon”.

Suthep made much of the discovery of an “assortment of weapons was found in a room in the building including rifles. Only television crews from Channel 5 and Channel 9 were later allowed to film the inspection inside, as well as BlueSky Channel…”. Meanwhile, “National police chief Adul Saengsinkaew said police were unable to provide security because of the change of route. He also said police were not allowed to enter the site where the weapons were found…. He asked the PDRC to allow police to investigate and promised to intensify security in the wake of the blast.”

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra “denied the PDRC’s accusation that the government was behind the attack.” She added: “I do not support any kind of violence and will take action against those who do…”.

On the weapons, Khaosod reports a police statement:

Pol.Gen. Worapong Chiewpreecha, deputy chief of the Royal Thai Police, also told reporters that he believes the weapons found by PCAD guards were in fact BB guns. He stressed that the police would investigate the matter and find the perpetrators as soon as possible, but lamented the fact that soldiers have entered the crime scene before the police.

Later in the day the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) announced that forensic police had already investigated the evidence reportedly found by PCAD guards, and concluded that the weapons were plastic BB guns, with their triggers removed, which could not fire live ammunition.

On strategy, Democrat Party stalwart and anti-democracy leader – yes, we know that sounds silly, but that is a fact – and Abhisit Vejjajiva ally, Sathit Wongnongtoey stated:

I must admit that peaceful movements limit our strategies. We think that the worst-case scenario is that Ms Yingluck refuses to resign and will wait for demonstrators to become tired. PDRC secretary-general Suthep [Thaugsuban] keeps encouraging demonstrators to fight until Ms Yingluck and other caretaker ministers resign and the Thaksin regime disappears from Thailand.

The game will end faster if government officials and soldiers side with the people. The game will end faster if the government deals violently with demonstrators. We know hardcore government supporters will launch violent attacks and black-clad men are carrying out their missions and enjoying support from some police officers.

Another attack, with gun fire, was reported:

Journalists reported hearing gunfire intermittently on the front line of the PDRC’s Chaeng Watthana protest site near Mongkutwattana General Hospital…. The attackers came in a group of 30 motorbikes and 12 minibuses. Most of them were dressed in black…. According to the journalists, PDRC guards prevented reporters and photographers from observing the situation at the front line, citing safety concerns…. The PDRC’s protest site on Chaeng Watthana Road has regularly been harassed at night by armed opponents.

BomberA second grenade attack too place on Sunday, at the Victory  Monument: “Two grenades thrown at victory monument protest site; at least 28 hurt, … including a number of anti-government protesters…”. This time, CCTV caught the image of the bomber.

The Bangkok Post predicts the bombings will “likely … push both sides further apart.” It cites Suthep:  “Following the Banthat Thong blast, PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban urged protesters in the South to lay siege to government offices starting on Monday.”

The official response is as follows:

THE GRENADE attack on the anti-government march last Friday was the work of an ill-intentioned group bent on stirring up trouble and pointing blame toward the government, chief of the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) Surapong Tovichakchaikul said yesterday.

Surapong, who is also caretaker Deputy PM and Foreign Minister, said police could not gain access to the scene shortly after the attack because the PDRC leaders did not let them enter.

“There was an attempt to prevent police from getting inside to control the situation and collect evidence, which suggests that an ill-intentioned group wanted to create a situation whereby the government would be blamed [for the attack]. The attack was not aimed at protest leaders as [first] claimed,” he said.

Deputy Bangkok Police Chief Pol Maj-General Adul Narongsak said ini?tial investigations found that the area where the BB guns were found was far from the scene of the bomb blast. Shortly after the attack, PDRC guards refused to allow police entry to the scene, which hampered the investiga?tion. A number of military personnel were the first to be allowed access. Police were allowed entry later.

Adul said it was unlikely the grenade was thrown from a building nearby, as there were many obstacles in the way. And CCTV footage did not show any object being thrown into the area just before the blast occurred.

Adul said the footage showed a sus?pect in a white cap quickly take cover behind a telephone-exchange box just before the deadly explosion. After the blast, another man got out of a pick-up and ran straight to the man with the white cap. The two quickly collected some objects near the blast site with?out paying attention to the injured peo?ple. The footage, he said, had led police to believe that the suspects mingled with protesters before the blast.

“We can confirm that people responsible for the attack were among the protesters as the footage captured both their images and voices,” he said.



One response

19 08 2015
Blame game speaks volumes about Thai politics | The Rock River Times

[…] if anyone has form in the perpetration of political bombings, it could be the yellowshirts. Suspicions have been raised of their involvement in explosive attacks on their own rallies in the past, blamed on the redshirts […]

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