Heavily-armed police moved into the Chinatown district of Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday (6 July) searching for suspected snipers and hidden weapons.
Heavily-armed police moved into the Chinatown district of Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday (6 July) searching for suspected snipers and hidden weapons. The large-scale police hunt followed three nights of vicious rioting, which left at least 28 dead, more than 120 wounded and 100 arrested.
The riots began late on Wednesday night (4 July) after police arrested a Chinese taxi driver for a minor parking offence.
The arrest was made in the predominantly Chinese Plabplachai district. Soon the local police station was surrounded by angry crowds. Hundreds of youths, many armed with guns and petrol bombs, took on the police defenders. Most of the victims were rioters shot by police.
On Saturday, car loads of police fanned out from the battered police station to search the maze of narrow streets and winding alleys. They concentrated on the known haunts of two Chinese youth gangs - the Eagles and the Dragons -- alleged to be the ringleaders in the riots.
At nightfall, a curfew was enforced and police sealed off streets around the police station. Land Rover of riot police patrolled the Chinese quarter throughout the night.
The streets of Plabplachai were relatively quiet during the night. There was one gun battle between police and a lone sniper. A bystander was killed and one policemen wounded.
Bangkok's Police Commissioner has told newsmen an inquiry will attempt to discover why so much anger was directed at the police. He said if any misdemeanors were detected, police responsible would be transferred away from the Plabplachai.
SYNOPSIS: The streets of Chinatown in Bangkok -- Thailand's capital -- were quiet on Saturday after three nights of wild riots in which at least twenty-eight people died.
The fighting began outside the police station in the Chinese district after a Chinese taxi driver was arrested for a minor parking offence.
Hundreds of youths -- many armed with guns and petrol bombs -- swarmed around the station trading gunfire with police defenders. The authorities reported later that most of those who died were shot by the police. More than one hundred and twenty people were wounded in the affray.
On Saturday, jeep-loads of police fanned out from the battered police station in search of suspected snipers and hidden weapons. The search concentrated on the known haunts of two Chinese youth gangs -- the Eagles and the Dragons -- the alleged ringleaders in the riot.
Chinatown's narrow streets and its maze of alleys were combed. Even this temple was searched.
Throughout the day, vehicles with loud speakers patrolled the streets warning residents of a dusk curfew.
After the riots, Bangkok's Police Commissioner ordered an inquiry to determine why so much anger was directed against his men. He said any who had acted wrongly against Chinatown residents would be transferred.
On Saturday, barricades were erected around the riot scene, sealing it off from the public. There were also constant patrols in the Chinese quarter. However, one shooting incident was reported overnight, in which a bystander was shot dead.