Korean water cannon used against democracy protesters in Thailand
Water cannon produced by the South Korean company Jino Motors has been photographed being used against pro-democracy protesters in Thailand. The cannon was reportedly exported to Thailand in 2012 for use by the Royal Thai Police, for 24 million baht (US$770,000). The vehicle is capable of firing tear gas as well as water.
Thousands of mainly young Thai activists have taken part in protests demanding the reform of the monarchy, which holds a huge amount of power and cultural significance in the country. Human Rights Watch has described how the Thai police have aggressively broken up protests, using water cannon laced with blue dye to mark protesters, as well as baton charges and other violent tactics. The state has announced state of emergency powers which allow the Thai police to respond to protests with impunity.
Six similar vehicles produced by Jino Motors were exported to Kenya in 2017, according to DefenseWeb. Jino Motors has also exported to Syria, U.A.E, Iraq, Yemen, Indonesia, and many other countries, according to a promotion video made by the company.
Members of WRI's affiliate in South Korea were part of a coalition of groups who held a press conference and action denouncing the sale of "K-water cannon" and other weapons used by oppressive police forces around the world at the Korea World Police Expo held online - but normally held in Seoul - at the end of October. Jino Motors has been a regular exhibitor at the event. Baek Doraji, a family member of Paik Nam-ki, who was killed after being hit directly by a water cannon in 2015, sent a message which was delivered at the press conference. Doraji said "Five years has passed since my father's case, and the same tragedy is being repeated in other countries. I hope that the embarrassing export of weapons of destruction ends immediately."