YASOTHON — Nhoocherd remembers the day her husband died. He was supposed to come back to Yasothon to take the kids to school in the morning.
Instead, 44-year-old Pan Kamkong was caught and killed in a crossfire during a military crackdown on Redshirt protests in Bangkok in 2010. Today marked the 10th year since his death, which was ruled by a court to be most likely work of the military.
Nhoocherd observed the morbid anniversary by making merit at a local temple – as she has done every year since his death. Pan was one of 90 people, mostly civilians, who died in the two months of violence under the tenure of then-PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy, Suthep Thaugsuban.
“That day, his taxi’s air conditioner broke so he took it to the garage. He was planning on taking the kids back to Yasothon in the morning because the school term was opening,” Nhoocherd said on Thursday. “Soldiers in the area told him to take cover instead of travelling. But when he found a hiding place, he was killed.”
The Department of Special Investigation, or DSI, later filed charges over the killings to the court. Nhoocherd, 50, recalls it was very emotionally difficult to travel back and forth from Bangkok to Yasothon to attend court and fight her case to find out who killed her husband.
She said she received assistance from a lawyer as well as a Pheu Thai politician.
But in mid-April, almost a decade after her husband died, Nhoocherd received a court summons for her to withdraw her original charges against Abhisit and Suthep.
“I won’t go, and will never go,” she said. “I never received an apology from Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban. Are they manipulating the court?”
Nhoocherd also said she did not go because of the emergency decree curfew.
A court inquest in 2012 ruled that Pan was shot and killed close to Ratchaprarop Airport Rail Station on May 15, 2010, when soldiers were sealing off the area to choke off Redshirt protests in downtown.
Pan was reportedly turning around to see soldiers shouting at a van driver to stop. Soldiers then opened fire, and he dropped dead.
The court said a bullet that struck Pan’s chest and killed him was identical to the ammunition used by soldiers in the area on that day. But no one has been held responsible for his death so far. Past efforts to pursue the charges in the International Criminal Court also went nowhere.
“My husband suddenly became a terrorist. His case is of someone who never meddled in politics but still died,” Nhoocherd said.
In September 2011, Nhoocherd and her family received 7.5 million baht in compensation, doled out to six family members – Nhoocherd, their four children, and Pan’s father – for 1.25 million baht each.
The family used the money to purchase 15 rai (2.4 hectares) of farmland and build houses for them to live in.
Pan’s father passed away in March.