Activist ‘Ja New’ in Critical Condition After Assault

Sirawith "Ja New" Serithiwat is brought to hospital on June 28, 2019, with major head injuries. Image: Democracy Restoration Group

BANGKOK — A pro-democracy campaigner remains in critical condition after he was attacked by a group of unidentified men on a street in northeast Bangkok today, his mother said. 

Sirawith “Ja New” Seritiwat had fractures in his nose and skull, and there was bleeding in his eyes, according to his mother Patcharee Charnkij. He was admitted to ICU as of 4.10pm under close monitor from the physicians, Patcharee told reporters at the hospital. 

Doctors said they will soon transfer Sirawith to another hospital for a brain scan, citing his lack of response. 

Sirawith “Ja New” Seritiwat’s shirt stained by blood from the assault

The 27-year-old activist was ambushed by four men wielding wooden sticks as he was leaving his home in Bangkok’s Kannayao district. Eyewitnesses said assailants struck down Sirawith by aiming for his head and then continued to beat him on the ground.

The perpetrators fled the scene after bystanders rushed to help Sirawith. Local police said they will investigate the incident. 

No one claimed responsibility for the attack. Previously on June 2, Sirawith was beaten close to a court in downtown Bangkok. Although the perpetrators were never caught, critics of the junta suspect the regime’s involvement because two other anti-government campaigners have been attacked in a similar pattern

All the same, the latest assault has left friends of Sirawith perplexed, as the activist announced earlier this month that he is taking a break from political activism to take up postgraduate studies in India for several years. 

After visiting Sirawith at the hospital, Future Forward MP and former activist Rangsiman Rome said he will pursue an explanation from the government for the repeated assaults on the campaigners. 

Sirawith’s mother, Patcharee Charnkij, cries during an interview with reporters at Nawamin Hospital.
Sirawith “Ja New” Serithiwat is brought to hospital on June 28, 2019, with major head injuries. Image: Democracy Restoration Group