Court: Taxi driver killed by troops

The Criminal Court on Monday made a crucial ruling, that government forces were responsible for the death of a red-shirt protester on May 15, 2010 during the height of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) protests in April and May that year.

The prosecution had sought a ruling in its investigation of the death of Phan Khamkong, 43, a taxi driver from Yasothon province.

Basing its decision on testimony from witnesses and examination of other evidence, the court found that Phan was hit by bullets fired by soldiers who were shooting at a van driven by Samorn Maithong near an airport rail link station on Ratchaprarop road. The troops were ordered to go there position by the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES).

It was concluded that the troops' gunfire killed Phan and wounded Mr Samorn.

The court ruled that Phan's death was caused by government troops.

The prosecution will now include the court ruling in its case report on its investigation of Phan's death, which will be handed over the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) for further inquiries.

DSI chief Tarit Phengit said all concerned should accept the court's ruling.

Mr Tarit said this was the first of 36 cases involving deaths during the crackdown on political protests in 2010.  The ruling would be taken as a precedent for the court's handling of other cases, he said.

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