Men in black 'sparked unrest'

Mysterious "men in black" did attack security forces on April 10, 2010 on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, a senate sub-committee looking into political violence has concluded.

Elected senator Somchai Sawaengkarn, chair of the sub-committee, said there were grounds to believe the men in black existed and played a significant role in setting off the turmoil during the red-shirt protests three years ago.

The men were armed with heavy weapons including assault rifles and grenades which were used against security forces.

Sen Somchai, who is a member of the Group of 40 Senators, said the panel also suspected that the 26 deaths reported after the April 10 incident at Kok Wua intersection on Ratchadamnoen Avenue were exaggerated and wanted the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to investigate possible evidence tampering.

The committee's findings were released one day before the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship was to hold activities marking the third anniversary of the violence.

The inquiry focused on the violence that erupted on April 10 after security forces were sent in to reclaim the red-shirt protest venue, and on the death of Gen Romklao Thuwatham.

It questioned more than 100 witnesses and reviewed piles of material evidence, Sen Somchai said.

Lt Gen Nanthadet Meksawat, a member of the sub-committee, concluded that two M-67 grenades were thrown from the direction where red shirts were gathered and that the grenade blasts had killed Gen Romklao. He criticised the DSI for its lack of progress in investigating Gen Romklao's death.

He said there was clear evidence for the agency to work with but so far the DSI had not made much progress.

The panel also found the security forces did not spark the April 10 violence and that they had handled the situation in accordance with the law.

Wirat Panitpong, another sub-committee member, said the findings suggested that Wasan Phuthong, who was shot in the head, was not killed by security forces.

Wasan's death is among 18 cases in which state authorities are suspected of involvement.

About the author

Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth
Position: Reporter