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PM vows to seek truth

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Full investigation promised into riots Abhisit: Priority is to heal the mind

  • Bangkok Post

PM vows to seek truth

MAIN PHOTO A man surveys the destruction at Siam Square after the fire set by rioters ripped through the popular shopping area.

PATIPAT JANTHONG INSET A picture of detained red shirt leader Nattawut Saikua enjoying himself at the Naresuan base in Cha-am district, circulated widely in the social media yesterday.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has promised to hold an independent investigation into all crimes during the two-month red shirt rally which claimed at least 85 lives.

In a nationally televised address, Mr Abhisit also vowed to repair divisions in the country by calling for cooperation among all groups.

PM vows to seek truth

Thais should pull together to rehabilitate the country and heal the mental trauma in the wake of the riots in Bangkok and other provinces, he said.

‘‘We have restored order in Bangkok and the provinces of Thailand,’’ he said.

‘‘We will continue to move swiftly to restore normalcy. There are huge challenges ahead of us, particularly the challenge of overcoming divisions in the country,’’ he said.

Mr Abhisit said he felt sorrow at the loss of life and damage resulting from the riots. ‘‘It’s time for everyone to take part in the rehabilitation process. [Damaged] buildings and houses can be rebuilt. But the overriding priority is to heal the mind,’’ Mr Abhisit said.

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The government and the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation were setting themselves longer-term tasks to deal with the situation after the riots.

The most immediate task was to rehabilitate victims of the riots, arson and acts of terrorism, Mr Abhisit said.

As for longer-term measures, he stressed the importance of rehabilitating the nation and healing mental wounds left by the riots.

He would go ahead with the five-point road map for national reconciliation which would include economic, social and political reforms.

‘‘We must work together to design and rebuild our home to make it liveable for everyone,’’ Mr Abhisit said.

Since the first clash on April 10, 85 people have died and 1,378 have been injured. Of the injured, 162 are still in hospital, 16 in ICU.

Pathumwan police yesterday found the body of a man in zone C on the fourth floor of the gutted CentralWorld. Fire officers said they saw at least nine more bodies in the ruined building but as yet are unable to retrieve them.

Meanwhile, Suporn Atthawong, one of the UDD leaders, yesterday sent his lawyer to hand a letter to police, saying he would surrender only after the emergency rule had been lifted.

He said he wanted to fight violence instigation charges brought against him, but under normal circumstances.

Mr Suporn said the declaration of emergency rule was illegitimate.

Tharit Pengdit, chief of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), said the CRES approved a DSI request to prohibit Jatuporn Prompan, another United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship leader, from leaving the country.

As a Puea Thai MP, he enjoys legal immunity. Unlike eight other UDD leaders, he has been charged without detention.

Mr Jatuporn and the other eight UDD leaders turned themselves in on Wednesday and Thursday to face charges of violating the emergency rule decree.

Mr Tharit said police had handed over investigation reports on 115 cases involving acts of terrorism and violence during the riots in Bangkok.

The CRES had approved a proposal by the Justice Ministry to set up a centre for the administration of justice.

The centre will integrate the operations of six agencies — the Narcotics Suppression Bureau under the Royal Thai Police, the 191 Special Operations Division, the DSI, the Central Institute of Forensic Science, the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission, and the Justice Minister’s Office.

The centre will support the CRES’s work and is responsible for sending rapid deployment forces to deal with emergency situations and to rescue people. The centre can be reached by dialling 1688.

Acting government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said yesterday the CRES had also set up a special task force unit comprising police and military officers, and disaster mitigation staff from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to maintain security and peace in Bangkok and provide initial relief and aid to Bangkok residents affected by the riots.

Mr Panitan said the CRES has also set up a centre to rehabilitate and provide assistance to entrepreneurs and traders affected by the riots. The centre is at the CRES office, in the compound of the 11th Infantry Regiment in Bang Khen.

CRES spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the government will progressively relax some regulations under the emergency decree.

Members of security forces had finished their security sweep of the streets and ground areas which were the scenes of rioting in Bangkok.

Security checks were being conducted at 10 high-rise buildings on Ratchadamri Road, one of the riot scenes, such as the Phor Por Ror building in Chulalongkorn Hospital, Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, Regent House, Ratchadamri Hotel and Nanthawan Building. BMA staff will then conduct further checks.

The CRES has restored electricity and water to areas occupied by the red shirt protesters, Col Sansern said, adding checkpoints will remain on Bangkok streets for some time to ensure security.

Public transport in Bangkok, including buses, boats, BTS skytrain and the MRT underground train, have also resumed.

Sources from


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