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Monk – I saw Thai army shoot monk and others at Din Daeng

A Bangkok monk says claims by the Thailand government that the army only fired blanks at red-shirted pro-democracy supporters at Din Daeng last Monday are not true and that those shot include a Buddhist monk.

The accusations by the head monk of a Bangkok city temple come despite repeated claims by Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Veijajiva that the only fatalities from the government crack-down on pro-democracy supporters were the result of clashes between protesters and residents in the Nang Lerng market area on Monday (April 13th) night.

The monk, who chose the pseudonym “Sajja” (the word truth in Thai) for his safety and asked that his temple not be named, said he went to the Din Daeng area around 6.00am on April 13 after hearing reports of clashes earlier that morning between the Thai army and red shirt protesters.

Claims that the Thai army only fired over the heads of red-shirt protesters is repudiated by this photo clearly showing soldiers at Pratunam taking aim

Claims that the Thai army only fired over the heads of red-shirt protesters is repudiated by this photo clearly showing soldiers at Pratunam taking aim. Photo: John Le Fevre

Puea Thai officials take a statement from relatives of a man shot by Thai soldiers on April 12

Puea Thai officials take a statement from relatives of a man shot by Thai soldiers on April 12. Photo John Le Fevre

Prakal Riddiloy, a PPT complaints officer said “we know many people have been killed, hurt or are missing after the military action earlier this week. We intend to raise this matter as soon as parliament opens next week.”

The state of emergency and clash between red shirt protesters loyal to fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and government troops was the latest in a long-running back-and-forth battle over Thailand’s political future following the ouster of the elected People’s Power Party government of Thaksin Shinawatra by a military coup d’état in September 2006.

Late last year hundreds of thousands of tourists were stranded after both of Bangkok’s airports were seized by yellow-shirted so-called People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) supporters.

The siege ended when Thailand’s Constitutional Court disbanded the ruling People’s Power Party (PPP) under changes to Thailand’s constitution introduced by the military junta in 2006.

Following the de-registration of the PPP a number of former government coalition members, including members of the PPP, switched sides enabling the Democrat Party lead by Mr Abhisit to form government. Those PPP members who did not change sides formed the PPT party.

The so-called “red shirts” formed under the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), a group with close links to Shinawatra, first laid siege to Thailand’s Government House on March 26 demanding prime minister Abhisit dissolve parliament and call fresh elections.

The UDD stepped up its campaign against the government of Mr Abhisit with a mass rally on April 8 which attracted over 150,000 people.

On April 11 thousands of red shirt protesters caused Thailand enormous loss of face when they stormed the luxury Royal Cliff Hotel and Resort in Pattaya forcing the 10 Asean member heads of state plus those of six regional dialogue nations to flee and the 14th Asean Summit to be postponed.


© John Le Fevre, 2009

More background on Thailand’s political problems can be found at Thailand on the edge ahead of mass pro-democracy protest

Photos of Monday’s clash between red shirt protesters and the Thai military can be found at Battle for Bangkok photo special

A video compilation of the five days is at Songkran Battle for Bangkok, April 8 – 13, 2009, red shirt pro-democracy protests in Bangkok

A video clip distributed by the UDD showing two military assaults on red shirt protesters at Din Daeng on April 13, 2009 can be found here Battle for Bangkok – Thai army verses red shirt protesters.

More video on the Thailand military action at Din Daeng can be found here:
Din Daeng military action – ทหาร vs นปช สลายการชุมนุม สามเหลี่ยมดินแดง and also here:
“Din Daeng” – ทหารยิง m16 ปะทะเสื้อแดง 13.04.09

Comments in either Thai or English are welcome by clicking the Comments tag below. However, please also provide a translation of any comments written in Thai. Comments that are derogatory to HM the King of Thailand will be edited due to Thailand’s strict lèse-majesté laws.

Thailand, Thailand politics, Thailand current events, Peoples Alliance for Democracy, Abhisit Vejjajiva, United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, Thaksin Shinawatra, 14th Asean summit, Democrat Party, Thailand Government House, PAD, Thailand military, People’s Power Party, “Red-shirts”, “Yellow shirts”, Buddhism, Thailand Constitutional Court, Phak Puea Thai, Human rights, Human rights abuse
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John Le Fevre

John Le Fevre

Deputy editor, Thailand & GMS editor at The Establishment Post

John Le Fevre is an Australian national with more than 35 years experience as a journalist, photographer, videographer and copy editor.

He is currently deputy editor and Thailand / GMS region editor for The Establishment Post

Opinions and views expressed on this site are those of the author’s only. Read more at About me

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62 Responses to Monk – I saw Thai army shoot monk and others at Din Daeng

  1. Cheap textbooks for college Reply

    November 3, 2011 at 2:57 am

    God Bless the Thais right now and help them recover them from the floods!

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  2. 2ploenchit Reply

    March 23, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Hi, John.

    Just wanted to know if you were there when that Red-shirt monk dressed in a red instead of the usual orange drapes threw blood over these police officers who happened to be there?

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    • John Le Fevre Reply

      March 31, 2010 at 2:11 am

      No I wasn’t. That occurred in Chiang Mai. Please remember though that monks wear robes of different colours. Some are bright orange, but others are very dark orange – almost red. I didn’t see the photos of the event so can’t comment on the monks robes. Please read a forthcoming post that explains the blood donation and splashing.

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  3. Freyk Reply

    February 10, 2010 at 12:04 am

    Hi John,

    After re-reading your report I must come to the conclusion that it’s very unlikely for the monks’ claims to be true. It just makes no sense in what he’s saying, soldiers shooting randomly at non-partisan citizens, and then mentioning that there were also some children killed and loaded into a van, as well as a monk makes it all very hard to believe.
    What makes more sense to me as a veteran expatriate here, is that he sympathizes with the red shirts and made the story up to harm the opponent.

    After all, he’s a Metropolitan Monk, often indistinguishable from the common Bangkokian in word, thought, and behaviour, with the difference -besides the dress-code- that he probably has plenty of time to indulge in many earthly pleasures and sins as the donations come easy and a monk’s free time is plentiful. Sins could include holding grudges against- and wanting to get back at others, which could be reason for him to make these claims.

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    • John Le Fevre Reply

      February 10, 2010 at 1:04 am

      The points you make are quite valid. I can not say 100 percent if he is telling the truth or not. My role was to follow-up the accusation. The monk was interrogated as strenuously as possible and he was cross-examined on each point. I could find no flaws in his story. He was treated no differently than anyone else making accusations. Unfortunately there was no one else to corroborate his story. He was interviewed through a native-Thai speaker who phrased the questions exactly as they were asked in English. I have seen documents signed by a doctor with a telephone number where injured protesters were taken. Japanese TV footage appears to show a military confrontation and charge much earlier than the widely reported event – the footage is pre-dawn. I suspect this is going to be one of the unanswered questions relating to the Songkran 2009 riots.

      Thanks very much for reading and your comments

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  4. 2ploenchit Reply

    May 11, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    John, hi. Nice to know you. Just commenting on the ‘Monk witnesses shooting at people’ story. As I understood soldiers were shooting to disperse the rioting red-shirts by shooting BLANKS, so apparently they were aiming at them to make it APPEAR they were shooting real ammo at them.

    If the red-shirts had been informed the army would only use blanks, then it wouldn’t have had much of an impact on them would it? They’d just keep on rioting, wouldn’t they?

    Thanks for your great work,


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    • John Le Fevre Reply

      May 11, 2009 at 8:01 pm

      Hello Freyk,
      Thanks for your comment. There is no doubt that some of the soldiers were firing blanks, paper bullets or training rounds, whatever you want to call them, however it is impossible for an M16 to fire on semi-automatic or automatic mode without a Blank Firing Attachment in the end of the barrel to capture and return the exploded gas to return the firing mechanism. None of the M16s seen on that day were fitted with a BFA yet many were able to fire in semi-automatic and automatic mode. The only way this is possible is with live ammunition. I’ve also copied your comment to the relevant story so other people can see this reply.
      Thanks again for reading.

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