Thai opposition MP injured in shooting
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Thai opposition MP injured in shooting

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s dissolution of parliament became effective yesterday with an election set for July 3, but the Bangkok Post reports:

Former Pheu Thai MP for Samut Prakan Pracha Prasopdee was shot last night in what is seen as the first election-related violence since the House dissolution on Monday.

Mr Pracha was shot in the back at about 9pm in the Phra Pradaeng area while he was driving his Toyota Camry to Phra Samut Chedi district after helping a local politician campaign for the provincial administration election.

Two men riding a motorcycle approached the right side of his car at Phra Pradaeng intersection and shot at him five times.

The bullets hit his back and pierced his right shoulder while causing minor damage to the car.

Mr Pracha was rushed to Bang Pakok1 Hospital.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said Mr Pracha was in a safe condition.

Police believe political conflicts could have sparked the attack.

BP: Don’t want to start with a semantic debate, but BP was a little curious that the Bangkok Post described Pracha as a former MP as BP thought he was a current MP. A Thai Rath story from May 4, 2011 describes him as a Puea Thai MP. Thai Rath‘s article on the shooting describes him as Puea Thai MP. Other papers to describe him as an MP include Krungthep Turakit, Khao Sod although Matichon describes him as a former MP.

Now, because of the dissolution, per Section 106(1) of the 2007 Constitution, Pracha has lost his status as an MP, but then again because of the dissolution of parliament all Ministers, per Section 180(2), also lose their status as Ministers although they do basically become caretaker Ministers per Section 181. However, the Bangkok Post still describes Ministers as Ministers in breaking news reports yesterday which was after the dissolution became effective.

Perhaps, we can find a way to refer to MPs who have just lost their status because it is confusing. Perhaps, caretaker MP, incumbent MP, some other wording or if referring to him as a former MP then state he was an MP before the dissolution. The reason is that there is a difference between shooting a former MP, which can convey the message that they are no longer involved in politics, versus shooting someone who was an MP 2 days ago. If one reads the Bangkok Post article it is not clear about his status. Ok rant ended.

Who is Pracha? Pracha as elected an Thai Rak Thai MP in Samut Prakarn in 2001, re-elected in 2005, in 2006, and then as a PPP MP in 2007 and became a Puea Thai MP on December 7, 2008 after dissolution of PPP (Thai Rath biography).

Pracha has (still is?) been very close to Thaksin:

November 2009 – Announces he will visit Thaksin with other Puea Thai MPs in Phnom Penh;

May 2010:

Nation Group reporter Naya Jaikawang did not expect much when she made a phone call to interview Pheu Thai MP Pracha Prasopdee, one of the MPs closest to Thaksin, to ask him about latest reports that Thaksin had ordered Pheu Thai MPs to re-mobilise people to support the anti-government protesters.

Naturally, the topic of “Is Thaksin still alive” came up. Pracha said he just talked to Thaksin on Saturday and, unexpectedly, gave Naya his phone number.

Having said that in September 2010 Bhum Jai Thai stated that there were trying to persuade Pracha to leave Puea Thai and join Bhum Jai Thai. TAN:

Deputy Interior Minister and a senior Bhum Jai Thai executive, Boonjong Wongtrairat, disclosed that his party is in the process of persuading another Pheu Thai MP in Samut Prakarn, Pracha Prasopdee, to join his party

Pracha denied this per the Bangkok Post:

Samut Prakan MP Pracha Prasopdee has denied he is quitting the Puea Thai Party despite meeting recently with a politician close to the Chart Thai Pattana Party

Mr Pracha said yesterday he had met with Somsak Prissananantakul, a prominent politician banned from holding political office for five years but still thought to wield considerable influence at Chart Thai Pattana.

Mr Pracha said the two men discussed politics in general.

The MP was reported earlier to be planning to switch to a coalition party because he was unhappy with the way Puea Thai was being run.

Mr Pracha insisted he and his sister Naruemon would not leave the party and three other Puea Thai MPs for the province would also stay put.

“I’ll stick with the party until its final day,” Mr Pracha said

BP:  Then again, by January 2011,* Pracha said he was ready to speak to Thaksin to help the seven Thais – remember them including Veera Somkwamkid who is still there! – detained in Cambodia. He has been in the Thai press last week for criticizing the government over the final cabinet meeting which spent out large amounts of money and is described by Channel 3 as a senior member/leader (แกนนำพรรค) of Puea Thai on April 18. Hence, how he is currently viewed seems to be that his from Puea Thai.

On the shooting. Matichon states he was shot in Phra Samut Chedi district in Samut Prakarn around 8:30 pm. He was shot 4-5 times and hit in the shoulder once.

Thai Rath states that from the initial investigation Pracha’s car had passed the Phra Pradeng intersection by 100 metres.  Assailant(s) had followed them and fired the weapon from the left side of the driver’s seat and shots hit the head pillow and deflected onto shoulder. Altogether, 9 shots were fired but one shot grazed so not a serious injury (ทั้งนี้จากการสอบสวนเบื้องต้น ทราบว่า ขณะที่นายประชา กำลังขับรถมาถึงจุดเกิดเหตุ ซึ่งเลยสามแยกพระประแดงมาประมาณ 100 เมตร ได้มีคนร้ายขับรถตามมา และใช้อาวุธปืนยิงทางด้านซ้ายที่เป็นที่นั่งคนขับ โดยกระสุนถูกหมอนรองศรีษะ แล้วกระเด็นเข้าไหล่ของนายประชา แต่จากการตรวจสอบพบคนร้ายยิงทั้งหมด 9 นัด แต่โดยเพียงถากๆ นัดเดียว เลยทำให้อาการไม่สาหัส).  In regards to the vehicle used it is unclear what vehicle used as Pracha gave a statement that there was a motorcycle with 2 people on it, but at the place of incident it has not been concluded what vehicle and the will need to come to a conclusion (ส่วนคนร้ายขณะนี้ยังไม่ทราบแน่ชัดว่า ใช้ยานพาหนะประเภทใด เนื่องจากการสอบถามนายประชาให้การว่า รถจักรยานยนต์ และมาด้วยกันทั้งหมด 2 คน แต่ในจุดเกิดเหตุยังไม่ได้สรุปว่าเป็นรถอะไร ซึ่งตำรวจจะต้องสรุปอีกครั้งหนึ่ง).

Krungthep Turakit quotes Pracha as saying that he was shot at 5 times and hit by two bullets in his right shoulder, but as it was not that serious he was able to escape (ยิง 5 นัดเข้าที่กระจกฝั่งคนขับ เข้าที่บริเวณไหล่ข้างขวา 2 นัดไม่สาหัส จึงขับหนี).

BP: The first of many shootings? Then the next question is, who ordered his shooting? A shot fired in the direction of the head, but that hit the pillow on the driver’s side is a clear attempt to kill. It was just fortunate that the shooter was not very skilled….

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Source: Matichon

*Corrected this from 2001 to 2011