Thai riot police used a cheap Chinese tear gas that contained an explosive powerful enough to rip craters in the ground to disperse crowds of anti-government protesters last week, an investigator said Monday.Add tear gas to your list of things not to buy that say "made in China."
The investigation by forensics experts and a human rights commission could explain why several protesters had limbs and feet blown off and three died in clashes last week with police, who insist they only fired tear gas into the crowd.
Investigators found that police used three types of tear gas - from China, the United States and Spain - but "relied heavily on tear gas made in China," said Pornthip Rojanasunand, director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science.
Pornthip said an experiment showed that the Chinese gas contained high levels of RDX - a chemical commonly used to make bombs and not a standard component of tear gas intended for crowd control. Pornthip's institute conducted the investigation as part of an inquiry into the clashes by the National Human Rights Commission.
Tests at a military field over the weekend found that a Chinese-made tear gas canister fired from a shotgun left a crater eight centimetres wide and three centimetres deep, she said, noting that it also "left a hole in a metal pipe."
On a more serious note, Bangkok Pundit has a recent blog post concerning the controversy surrounding the weapons used during the protests. "So who purchased them?" he asks. Whoever it was ought to be fired.