Cops stand by car smash colleague
The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) yesterday defended a policeman who allegedly drove into a group of anti-government protesters on Sunday night in the Din Daeng area, injuring one of them.
MPB commissioner Pol Lt Gen Phukphong Phongpetra admitted that a prisoner transport vehicle was involved in the incident but said it was not a hit-and-run.
He said the car was attacked by protesters when it drove past the Din Daeng area, the protest venue on Sunday evening of hardliners known as "Mob Thalugas" (Tear Gas Survivors' Mob).
However, when it reached Din Daeng, it was attacked by a group of six to seven protesters. As the police driver tried to zigzag his way out of the group, one protester jumped in front of the car and was clipped by the vehicle.
Pol Lt Gen Phukphong was reacting after a video was posted on social media showing a protester being hit by a police car in the area. The injured demonstrator, said to be a 14-year-old male, was sent to Rajavithi Hospital.
The MPB chief said the police driver did not stop his car because he was concerned about his safety.
He said the police driver reported the incident to his supervisor, lodged a complaint with Din Daeng police against the attackers and asked forensic officers to inspect the car.
A police source said a fact-finding probe into the incident has already been ordered is prepared to take legal action against the officer if a complaint is lodged against him.
The car, which belongs to the Phlapphla Chai 1 police station, suffered damage to the windshield and flat tyres and was being driven back to the station when it was attacked. However, he couldn't get further then Phramongkutklao Hospital so he left the vehicle there.
When asked about other aspects of the policing that day, Pol Lt Gen Phukphong said his men had only used rubber bullets and tear gas to calm the protesters in addition to searching them for weapons at a number of checkpoints.
MPB spokesman Piya Tawichai said yesterday the protests had been marred by the violence which had also resulted in a number of fires on public property.
He said protesters also placed spikes on the road and hurled rocks, firecrackers, ping-pong bombs and other objects during the event.
"They burned things in front of the Thai-Japanese stadium and placed spikes preventing cars from using Din Daeng tunnel. This caused damage to some public property," he said.
He also said a group of protesters had been charged with violating the emergency decree, unlawful assembly and public disorder.
Since July, 511 people have been arrested in 204 cases in connection with anti-government demonstrations.