Candlelit vigil remembers teenager shot at protest

A candlelit vigil was held in front of Din Daeng Police Station on Wednesday night (16 August) in memory of a teenager killed after being shot following a Din Daeng intersection protest on the night of 16 August 2021.

Candles and flowers were placed around a photo of Warit during the vigil. (Photo by Ginger Cat)

Warit Somnoi, then 15, was shot along with another 14-year-old protester with live rounds near Din Daeng Police Station after a protest on 16 August 2021. The 14-year-old was reportedly shot while riding a motorcycle past the station and sustained minor injuries to his shoulder. Warit was shot in the neck. The bullet fractured his cervical vertebrae and lodged in his brain. He died on 28 October 2021 after spending two months in a coma at Rajavithi Hospital’s intensive care unit.

Voice Online reported that a man named Chutipong Tidkratok was arrested for the shooting on 30 September 2021, nearly two months after it occurred. The police also said that an arrest warrant had been issued for another suspect seen in CCTV footage. However, there is no report that the suspect has been arrested.

Chutipong was charged with premeditated murder, assault, being in possession of a firearm and ammunition without a permit, carrying a firearm in public without a permit, and using a firearm in a public place. He was indicted on 18 July 2022.

An evidence examination hearing was scheduled for 22 August 2022, but because Chutipong did not have a lawyer, the Court appointed him legal representation to take care of his paperwork. Another evidence examination hearing was held on 5 September 2022, but Chutipong still did not have a lawyer, so the Court appointed a lawyer to help him with scheduling witness examination hearings.

On 10 October 2022, the court scheduled 4 witness examination hearings, which will take place on 5 – 6 October and 10 – 11 October 2023.

Participants placed photos and flowers, and lit candles along a chalk line on the ground in the shape of a body. The message written next to it said "Someone died here." (Photo by Ginger Cat)

An investigation by Decode, an online publication under Thai PBS, found that Chutipong is likely connected to the Din Daeng Police. A source cited in the report who was shown a picture of Chutipong said he was a police informant but had not been seen around Din Daeng Police Station in a long time.

Decode also cited a report by the House of Representatives fact-finding committee, which found that a group of around 12 men attacked protesters around the time Warit was shot. The men then rode motorcycles into a nearby alleyway used as a shortcut to Din Daeng Police Station. A group of men wearing similar attire to the group that attacked protesters were later seen in the police station, which was guarded by crowd control police.  At the time, no civilians were allowed past the gate.

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