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

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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 (April 13) are not true and that those shot include a Buddhist monk.

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 John Le Fevre

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 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.

According to Sajal, when he got to Din Daeng he saw “bodies loaded in a refrigerated truck, including a monk. The roadway was wet as if it had just been hosed down”, he said.

Many people killed

Prakal Riddiloy, a Phak Puea Thai (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 long-running back-and-forth battles over Thailand’s political future following the ouster of the elected People’s Power Party (PPP) government by a military coup d’état in September 2006.

Monk claims to have witnessed shooting of red-shirted pro-democracy supporters at Din Daeng
Monk claims to have witnessed shooting of red-shirted pro-democracy supporters at Din Daeng John Le Fevre

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

The siege ended when Thailand’s Constitutional Court disbanded the ruling 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 led 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 Veijajiva with a mass rally on April 8 which attracted some 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.



Video John Le Fevre






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John Le Fevre is an Australian national with more than 40 years experience as a journalist, photographer, videographer and editor.

He has spent extensive periods of time working in Africa and throughout Southeast Asia, with stints in the Middle East, the USA, and England.

He has covered major world events including Operation Desert Shield/ Storm, the 1991 pillage in Zaire, the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the 1999 East Timor independence unrest, the 2004 Asian tsunami, and the 2009, 2010, and 2014 Bangkok political protests.

In 1995 he was a Walkley Award finalist, the highest awards in Australian journalism, for his coverage of the 1995 Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) Ebola outbreak.

Most recently he was the Thailand editor/ managing editor of AEC News Today . Prior to that he was the deputy editor and Thailand and Greater Mekong Sub-region editor for The Establishment Post, predecessor of Asean Today.

In the mid-80s and early 90s he owned JLF Promotions, the largest above and below the line marketing and PR firm servicing the high-technology industry in Australia. It was sold in 1995.

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 (video)"

  1. Cheap textbooks for college   November 3, 2011 at 2:57 am

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

  2. 2ploenchit   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?

    • John Le Fevre   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.

  3. Freyk   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.

    • John Le Fevre   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

  4. 2ploenchit   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,


    • John Le Fevre   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.

  5. Joshua   May 7, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    I had previously believed that the claims any died had been created by propaganda efforts on the part of the red shirts lead by Thaksin. Now, I don’t know what to think. Even the international media seemed to ridicule Thaksin for these claims. I guess they didn’t see this broadcast. The problem is that this is not strong enough proof, but if the monk could be believed, it changes my views indeed. Such cover-ups have happened in Thailand before, so I know it’s possible, but was hoping it was not. Just want to add that although it could be true the soldiers killed redshirts, I believe when Thaksin was PM he had people killed and had it covered up just the same. Or, at least things happened under his tenure and of course it’s not clear how close he was to the murders, such as the Muslim lawyer. The war on drugs can be attributed to him, however.

  6. David Brown   April 28, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    we have all seen the bodies and some handcuffed and bloody redshirts being loaded into three small military covered trucks before dawn at Din Daeng…

    where were these bodies and people taken?

    if they were taken to hospitals, were they accounted for?

    if not, where were they taken?

  7. David Brown   April 26, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    the Abhisit government has been remarkably swift in organising identifiaction and arrests of redshirt leaders and those alleged to have been involved in attacks in Pattaya, the Interior Ministry and Lopburi

    but, why has there apparently been no effort to identify and arrest those alleged to have been involved in the murders at Nang Lerng and the gas tanker scare at Din Daeng?

    surely there were many witnesses to both events..

    is it because the government knows that redshirts were not involved in those incidents?

    or some other not so politically sensitive reason?


  8. David Brown   April 23, 2009 at 10:28 am


    please point me at the evidence that support your allegations…

    “attacked Nang Lerng Community and killed 2 poeople. They also attacked a mosque in Petchaburi Rd.”

    I have seen plenty of video and eyewitness acounts of the gas truck but please help me find and review evidence of your statements about Nang Lerng and mosque incidents

  9. just thais   April 23, 2009 at 12:09 am

    Thank John , . Show me some picture, you are journalist but no photo . prove it and make me believe what you see.

    • John Le Fevre   April 23, 2009 at 9:33 am

      Thanks for your comment. If there were photos available they would be displayed. In the absence of photos the media has to rely on eye-witness accounts as claimed by this monk. There were few photos of the 52 people officially declared killed by the Thai military in the Black May 1992 protests either.


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