One killed as rival rescue workers clash

One killed as rival rescue workers clash

Brawl began over working 'territory'

One man died and three other people were injured in a brawl between workers of two rival rescue foundations in Bangkok's Khlong Toei district early yesterday.

The brawl between workers of the Poh Teck Tung Foundation and the Sayam Ruam Jai Foundation took place about 1.20am outside a retail store on Kasemrat Road.

Chusana Chotprom, 25, a worker for Poh Teck Tung, was shot in the chest and taken to Chulalongkorn Hospital, while the three injured, also from that foundation, were sent to Hua Chiew Hospital. He was pronounced dead hours later.

Tensions were high for some time after Sayam Ruam Jai set up a referral unit in an area under the supervision of Poh Teck Tung.

Pol Col Duangchote Suwancharan, superintendent of Thong Lor police, said officers were investigating the brawl.

He said police were initially unable to enter the area because it was blocked by some 20 rescue vehicles. About 80 rescue workers were scattered in the area, he said.

Pol Col Duangchote said police tried to calm down the Poh Teck Tung Foundation crew after some entered the retail store to look for rival workers.

He said police then heard sounds of gunshots and saw the Poh Teck Tung Foundation crew scurry back to the Kasemrat intersection. One person was wounded and later died, he said.

Chakkrapong Ruangdech, 30, a Poh Teck Tung worker who sustained injuries to his eye, said tensions have been simmering for weeks over overlapping territory and crews from both foundations traded words when they bumped into each other.

He said the rival crew had been removed from the Poh Teck Tung Foundation and set up their own rescue team. The conflict arose when they set up a unit in areas under Poh Teck Tung foundation's supervision, he said.

There are multiple foundations that operate emergency medical services across the country and they get their income from hospitals when they deliver patients to them. However, they have their own territory to look after and when another foundation encroaches on another foundation's territory, conflict often follows.

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