A riot broke out briefly yesterday morning at a prison in Samut Sakhon after an inmate was refused emergency treatment for chest pain and died of apparent cardiac arrest.
Angered at guards for ignoring their calls for help when Somchai Pheeranuwat collapsed at 2.30am and for leaving him in his cell unattended for four hours, some 50 occupants of Somchai’s block in Zone 4 were the first to cause a disturbance.
They covered their faces with clothes and shirts before destroying several surveillance cameras and a door.
This group, led by Kittisak Yordwong, also demanded the immediate transfer of a guard, Wiroj Chumchuenjit.
A team of 400 police and prison guards was mobilised and 50 of them remained on site even after the rioters negotiated with a group of guards they trusted and agreed to disperse.
Chief warden Sophon Yimpreecha said Kittisak was convicted for drug-related crimes and was unhappy with Wiroj’s strict discipline and constant monitoring of drug-dealing activities at the facility.
The prison and the Corrections Department would jointly decide on whether to punish Kittisak and the other protesters and how.
Somchai, 25, was serving a sentence of seven years and 15 months for drugs and firearms-related crimes. He was complaining about chest pain but the guards on duty did not immediately follow guidelines for health emergencies after hearing the cellmates’ calls.
The guards declined to take the sick man out of the Zone 4 cell until dawn, citing safety concerns and insufficient manpower during their night shift.
An autopsy will be ordered to determine the cause of death.