UPDATED Red Shirts Search Through Hospital, Suspecting Hidden Soldiers

In another brazen [sic!] and controversial move, more than 200 red-shirt guards stormed into Chulalongkorn Hospital last night to check if there were soldiers inside the hospital buildings. Hospital director Dr Adisorn Patradul initially refused to let the members of the anti-government Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship (DAAD) into the complex. However, a source said Adisorn gave in after DAAD co-leader Payap Panket, wanted by police for his role in the tumultuous red campaign, insisted that he be allowed to inspect the area. Although Adisorn only allowed Payap, five red-shirt guards and reporters to come in, scores of other red-shirt guards poured into the hospital buildings as soon as the door was opened.

During their search, watched by bewildered nurses and doctors, the red-shirt guards seized two men and brought them to the DAAD stage at the Rajprasong intersection. The two were later released after they told the red shirtsthey were just workers.

The red-shirt guards stopped their search at the hospital at around 8.30pm, but only after police stepped in to negotiate. During the talks, the wanted man Payap was just inches away from the senior officers taking part in the negotiations. The talks ended with an agreement for the red-shirt guards to be allowed to check the hospital again today. This prompted angry responses from Twitter users monitoring the incident, who described the police action as shameful. (...)

"Reds storm hospital", The Nation, April 30, 2010

It was suspected by the authorities that during the grenades attack of April 22, the shots were fired from Chulalongkorn Hospital (and not from behind the Rama VI. statue as I was originally claimed by the government). Also, the red shirts have suggested for weeks now that military snipers have hidden on the high rooftops surrounding the rally site.

This incident today shows again a mob mentality by the red shirts (one might also say they copied PAD's tactics). Also the fact that they have invaded a hospital may turn even more people against them as this violates an unwritten rule that these places have to remain untouched. There have been references to the Geneva Conventions, but I think that you can hardly cite a document that was written for a conventional armed conflict in this more than unordinary confrontation.

Not to mention the consequences for the patients and staff of the hospital:

The red-shirt guards' raid of Chulalongkorn Hospital came despite a plea from the Medical Council of Thailand earlier in the day asking the anti-government protesters to keep at least 100 metres away from hospitals. Besides Chulalongkorn Hospital, the anti-government rally site is also close to the Police General Hospital. (...)

[Medical Council president Dr Somsak Lohlekha] said Chulalongkorn Hospital had already stopped receiving new patients while Police General Hospital had transferred patients to buildings that were farther away from the demonstration. (...)

"I hope red-shirt leaders, like Dr Weng Tojirakarn, will understand our purpose. No demonstration in any country in the world uses hospital premises to defeat the opposition," he said. "People are not allowed to honk a horn when they pass a hospital but the demonstrators use loudspeakers every day," he added. (...)

The hospital has already moved all patients from Phor Por Ror and Sor Kor buildings to other buildings near Henri Dunant Road. The hospital also suspended surgery for emergency patients and has temporarily stopped receiving patients from other hospitals. The special clinic will be closed from today until Sunday. The emergency unit is still open. Meanwhile all classes for medical students will be closed today.

"Reds storm hospital", The Nation, April 30, 2010

On Friday morning it has been reported that many patients have been transferred to completely different hospitals now.

And apparently the red shirts leaders themselves did not agree with what happened at the hospital, as Dr. Weng has announced NOT to search through it again because "it would badly affect the patients receiving treatment in the hospital" and also "he would like to extend apology to what happened on Thursday". At least somebody knows when to stop.

UPDATE Dr. Weng of the red shirts has officially apologized for the storm on the hospital, saying the "situation got out of control. It is not our policy to obstruct hospital operations".

Meanwhile, TV pictures show many patients being evacuated out of the hospital, showing a clear message of the impact of this very controversial act by the red shirts. Thinking more about, it was a truly idiotic halfwitted stupid dumb-ass ill-advised move by them and the backlash is coming now swift and hard.

Also, in an act of provocation, the red shirts have moved the barricade now in front of the hospital instead of moving it 100 meters back as the hospital requested.