BANGKOK — Police on Wednesday said a man was arrested on firearm charges for bringing a handgun and ammo to yesterday’s protest, where at least six people were shot by unidentified assailants.
The suspect was identified as Kasidit Leelamuktanun, 35. Police said Kasidit was arrested on Tuesday night, hours after gunshots were heard at the protest close to the parliament, which escalated into clashes between pro-monarchy hardliners and activists urging reforms of the monarchy.
Police reports said soldiers at an army base close to the protest site saw Kasidit trying to hide his firearm and bullets. He was soon apprehended with a .357 handgun and 10 rounds of ammunition.
Kasidit reportedly told investigators he carried the firearm to the royalist rally on Tuesday because he was concerned about his safety. He was charged with illegal possession of firearms and carrying weapons into residential areas without reasonable causes.
Yesterday’s protest saw the most serious violence since the student-led demonstrations broke out in February. Police launched water cannons and teargas at protesters attempting to besiege the parliament building.
Pro-democracy activists also skirmished with the hardline royalists into the night at Kiakkai Intersection in absence of the police force. Loud bangs of gunshots and fireworks echoed throughout the area.
At least 55 people were sent to hospital throughout the day, the city hall’s Erawan Medical Center reported. Many more were given first aid at the protest site.
Among the most alarming injuries were six people who were found with gunshot wounds, though none was in serious conditions.
Police denied any involvement; they said only teargas and water cannons were deployed on Tuesday, and no live ammunition was used on the protesters.