Vincent Fernando, CFA
May 20, 2010
This morning we learned that the Independent’s Andrew Buncombe was one of the foreign journalists injured during last night’s Bangkok violence.
He was the one referred too by this:
He’s now recovering, and he’s already written a piece describing the violence which ensued after ‘red shirt’ protest leaders surrendered to police.
One of the broader take-aways from his eye-witness account, to us, is that the official death toll so far from yesterday seems too low. Mr. Buncombe describes seven people dead in his area:
Of those killed yesterday, several died directly outside the temple – and many, many more wounded. Those sheltering inside the temple were just as vulnerable. In one of the compound’s buildings, seven bodies were laid out on the floor.
Seven dead here, yet what’s the official death toll for all of yesterday’s violence, which included multiple locations across Bangkok, and gun skirmishes for many hours? Seven, according to the medical authorities. Does this mean that nobody died outside of the temple? Have they failed to count the temple deaths yet? We know for sure there was at least one more, the Italian journalist Fabio Polenghi who died. That would seem to make eight deaths based on just this basic count. Perhaps the medical authorities are still running their tally, but it seems like the official death count is substantially lower than what likely transpired.
Anyhow, at the very least we expect the official death toll to climb once things have calmed down here. Yet with media locked down and curfews, we wouldn’t be surprised if the real number will be higher, but never proven. (UPDATE: Thai media is now reporting 14 as the total death count)
Regardless, without further ado, a first-hand account of one flash point, from the brave Andrew Buncombe:
And then things rapidly changed. From the west, we could hear loud firing as troops advanced towards the temple area. Some reporters who had been outside said that a small number of Red Shirts were firing back with sling-slots, hand guns and petrol bombs. A photographer said he saw a man shot in front of him as he ran away from a line of soldiers, two bullets hitting him in the back and apparently exiting from the chest. The image that photographer had taken did not look good.
Suddenly the firing intensified. The explosions grew louder and appeared to get nearer to us and the crack of weapons became more frequent, their cap-gun noises giving no clue as to their deadly capability.
This article was posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 3:37 am