Bangkok crackdown payouts to begin next month Source: BangkokPost.com
The government will start paying compensation related to the April-May 2010 political violence next month, the permanent secretary of the Prime Minister's Office confirmed yesterday. Tongthong Chandrangsu told the Bangkok Post that relatives of Reuters cameraman Hiro Muramoto and independent Italian photojournalist Fabio Polenghi were already on the list of those entitled to compensation. Elisabetta Polenghi, sister of the Italian journalist, confirmed her parents were entitled to the compensation but said she would continue to seek the truth behind her brother's death. "Since Fabio's case was reviewed by police, there seems to be some progress. Witnesses have come forward following the change in government as people seem more confident and feel better protected. "My hope is that the search for truth and freedom is not just a coincidence of circumstances but a condition that will last. I hope the culture of impunity will end, eventually," Ms Polenghi told the Bangkok Post. "Progress in the fact-finding process should be the top priority for the sake of a strong and healthy democracy, she added. Deputy Prime Minister Yongyuth Wichaidit, chair of the coordinating committee to implement recommendations of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission (TRC), said up to 1,658 people from around 5,000 applicants were eligible for compensation. Payouts, according to Mr Yongyuth, would range from small amounts up to 7.5 million baht depending on the severity of the injuries sustained. Families of those killed would be paid 7.5 million baht _ three million baht in cash and the remainder coming from the Government Savings Bank lottery.
Persons jailed or prosecuted for breaking the law during the violence will get nothing. Those who have already received state funds as a result of the violence will be paid the remainder of what they were entitled to under the scheme, Mr Tongthong said. He said relatives of people reported missing after the violence will not be on the compensation list as these cases were not covered by the TRC panel. He suggested they contact relevant agencies such as the police and the TRC to verify the facts. Sommat Chuaypimai, the mother of a missing red shirt supporter, said she is puzzled as to why the government did not deal with missing persons cases. "I met two other people whose relatives also disappeared after the April-May unrest. There should be some agencies dealing with this issue," said Mrs Sommat who is from Samut Prakan province. Somphan Phutajak, who was shot on Rama IV Road on May 17, said she does not understand why the government sees her as a minor injury case. She said was shot in the back and the bullet has damaged her small intestines, pancreas and gall bladder.