Dozens of hooded rioters surrounded and attacked an ambulance carrying an elderly patient in Phuket's Thalang district early on Sunday. The patient died at a hospital a few hours later.
"The siege lasted for about 20 minutes, during which the critically-ill patient's condition worsened," Krabi Hospital deputy director Dr Anan Pinthongphan said yesterday.
He said the ambulance left his hospital, in Krabi province, at 12.30am on Sunday to deliver the 71-year-old patient to Bangkok Phuket Hospital for coronary surgery.
According to him, the ambulance driver learned that there were rioters on a main road in Phuket's Thalang district at that time and thus opted for a secondary road with the help of local rescue workers. However, some 20 to 30 rioters turned up to attack the ambulance. "The side mirror was dislodged during the attack," Anan said, and as the attack dragged on, the patient's condition got worse.
"The ambulance then tried to rush him to a hospital nearby and after that the patient was transferred to Bangkok Phuket Hospital. However, it was too late and he was pronounced dead on arrival," Anan said.
The rioting occurred after claims that police were responsible for the death of two young drug suspects, who died in a road accident while chased by police.