Compensation payments out for victims of violence
The Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (SBPAC) has started disbursement of compensation payments to the disabled and relatives of victims killed or injured by state officials and insurgents in the restive deep South.
Altogether 6,868 people are entitled to the compensation as part of the rehabilitation programme following the cabinet’s decision on August 14 to increase the compensation from 100,000 baht to 500,000 baht in case of death and from 80,000 baht to 500,000 baht in case of being disabled.
Altogether 3,042 people will benefit from the increased payments as decided by the cabinet.
Justice Minister Pracha Promnok in his capacity as the chairman of the rehabilitation committee disclosed that the first instalment of compensation payments for 6,868 people eligible for the payments totaled 430 million baht. The payments were disbursed at all district offices in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat and four district offices of Songkhla.
The followings are details of the deaths and disabilities: Yala, 771 deaths and 107 disabled cases; Narathiwat, 868 deaths and 86 disabled cases; Pattani, 888 deaths and 24 disabled cases; and Songkhla, 57 deaths and two disabled cases.
As for some serious incidents such as the Krue Se, Tak Bai and Saba Yoi incidents in which several people were killed by security forces, relatives of the dead victims were promised compensation amounting from 4-7.5 million baht each. The first payment of 3.5 million baht was disbursed on August 17 and the rest will be paid in instalments of one million baht each annually.
The cabinet on August 14 also agreed to compensate victims of the Wat Promprasit and Ai Payae masjid attacks. Heirs of the victims of the two incidents will each get four million baht in compensation.
As for the case of Mr Sunthorn Rithipakdee, the late deputy governor of Pattani who was mysteriously shot dead in Yaring district of Pattani in 2004, it was agreed that the victim’s heirs would receive 7.5 million baht in compensation.
Pattani provincial police chief Pol Maj-Gen Pichet Pitisetthaphan told a small group of people at the Prince of Songkhla University’s Pattani campus on August 6 that many violent incidents which took place in Pattani were not related to insurgency problem but were motivated by person conflicts and, in many cases, suspected insurgents were hired to do the jobs.
He said that relatives of many victims killed as a result of personal or business conflicts wanted the authorities to classify the cases as security-related so that they could claim compensation from the state. But in order to be eligible to compensation, approval is needed from the police, the military and local administrators to confirm the cases as security-related, he explained.
As for the fatal shooting in Mayo district in which four soldiers were shot dead in drive-by shooting, Pol Maj-Gen Pichit said that the incident had been predicted but it was not known where it would take place since the same group of insurgents in army’s uniforms robbed a pick-up truck carrying chicken in Kapor district of Pattani on June 25. The same vehicle was used in the drive-by shooting in Mayo district.
The provincial police chief noted that it was lucky that the fatal shooting was recorded by surveillance cameras and the footage could be used as an evidence to pin down the perpetrators. He said that witnesses who saw such an incident would not come forward to give testimonies to the police because they didn’t want to appear before the court and put their own lives in danger.