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Army behind 2010 Thai 'Red Shirt' protest death: Inquest

Published on Sep 17, 2012 3:39 PM
A Thai 'red shirt' supporter holds up a picture of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during a rally at Democracy monument in Bangkok, on Sept 15, 2012, to mark the sixth anniversary of a bloodless 2006 coup that toppled the Thaksin government. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (AFP) - The Thai military shot and killed a taxi driver during 2010 "Red Shirt" rallies, an inquest found on Monday, in the first ever ruling on deaths during the country's worst political violence in decades.

Mr Phan Kamkong, 43, was caught in a volley of gunfire when he ran out of a central Bangkok apartment block to see what was happening after hearing soldiers open fire at a minibus that had strayed into an area under army control, a Thai criminal court found.

"He was killed by gunfire from weapons of military personnel who fired at a van which drove into a restricted area," said judge Jitakorn Patanasiri, adding the troops were on duty and following orders at the time.

The inquest was to judge the facts of the May 15 2010 incident and is not charged with apportioning criminal responsibility for the killing. More than 90 people, mostly civilians, were killed and nearly 1,900 were wounded in street clashes and a military crackdown on the opposition rallies, which drew about 100,000 "Red Shirt" demonstrators at their peak.

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