The ‘Free Guard’ group, in a social media statement, deny their members were responsible for the incident which injured four people including two police officers and a news website reporter at the scene. None were seriously hurt.
Police have arrested two members of the ‘Free Guard’ pro-democracy group in connection with a bomb which was thrown at an anti-government rally in Bangkok on January 17th last.
Thai police on Thursday announced the arrest of two suspects sought in connection with an explosion which injured two police officers, a civilian and a member of the media at a protest demonstration on Saturday 17th January against Article 112 of the Criminal Code organised by a pro-democracy group styling itself as ‘Free Guard’.
The two were named by police at Pathumwan Police Station as 23-year-old Pornchai Prakaphuang and 19-year-old Natthasut Siri-ut.
Two were named in arrest warrants sought by police on Wednesday from the Bangkok Criminal Court
The two detained were among three named in arrest warrants sought and obtained from the Bangkok Criminal Court by police on Wednesday. Police are understood to be tracking down a third person identified in connection with the incident.
On the 17th January, demonstrations led by the ‘Free Guard’ group started off at Victory Monument and were forced to move to the Chamchuri Square shopping district before police, in force and backed by riot control squads, moved in to make arrests leading to scuffles between the protesters and officers.
Bomb exploded as protesters ended their rally
Protesters then demonstrated at a nearby police station after several leaders were taken away to be held at Regional One Police Headquarters in Pathum Thani.
At 4.30 pm, the protesters had returned to Chamchuri Square and were again given an ultimatum to disperse by police at the scene. As they complied, the bomb went off at 5 pm.
On Thursday, officers with the Metropolitan Police Bureau, following an intensive investigation, reported that the device used was a ping pong bomb the size of a table tennis ball.
Hit police officers and an online news reporter
It was thrown into an area near where two police officers were stationed and where a reporter with The Standard news website was reporting on the day’s events.
The device caused shrapnel to fly which hit the police officer on the hand and the reporter in the calf of the leg. A civilian was also hit and injured by the device.
No one sustained serious or life-threatening injuries but such devices, in the past, have proved deadly in Thailand.
Ping pong bombs linked with subversive activity
Ping pong bombs are small low-pressure devices that have long been associated with anti-government activity in Thailand including bombings in the kingdom and the insurgency in the South.
They are also commonly used in gang warfare linked to school and college rivalries in Bangkok among young students.
Arrested ‘Free Guard’ members deny involvement
The warrants issued for the arrest of three people on Wednesday cited an attack and assault on police officers carrying out their duties by the ‘Free Guard’ trio as well as explosives and weapons offences.
The political group, on its Facebook page, denied any involvement in the bombing although it acknowledged that the three sought are members.
‘Our members insist that they did not throw the bomb,’ the social media statement claimed.
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