COVID Infected Policeman Was Deployed at Recent Protest

Riot police at the pro-democracy protest on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road on Feb. 28, 2021.

BANGKOK — The contingent of riot police officers who were deployed at a recent pro-democracy protest included a policeman who was infected with the coronavirus, health officials said Thursday. One more person also died from the virus.

Sgt. Maj. Somyot Nuamcharoen, an officer at Wang Thong Lang Police Station, tested positive for the virus on Wednesday after learning that one of his friends was infected, station chief Col. Ekkapop Tunprayoon said. Somyot was sent to the hospital on Thursday.

The policeman was part of the crowd control police unit who was dispatched to monitor the rally close to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s residence on Sunday. The largely leaderless protest turned violent as dusk fell. Protesters hurled projectiles at the police, who responded with tear gas, water jets, and rubber baton rounds.

Somyot’s travel history published by health authorities showed he had gone home to Samut Sakhon on Feb. 18 and met up with friends and family there.


After his return from Samut Sakhon, Somyot was on duty transporting suspects from Feb. 19 to 20. He worked at the Wang Thong Lang Police Station from Feb. 23 to 26, then at the Children and Women’s Welfare Center on Feb. 27, before being deployed at the protest the following day.


Ekkapop, the Wang Thong Lang police superintendent, said that the precinct has been disinfected per safety measures, while other police officers who had worked closely with him were put in quarantine.

The pandemic response center also announced the country’s 85th death from the coronavirus. The victim was identified as a 63-year-old Bangkokian man, who had a travel history in areas with large numbers of infections.

The unnamed man was admitted to the hospital on Jan. 9, and died on Feb. 28. He had preexisting conditions of diabetes and high blood pressure, officials said.