17 May 2010

New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok locates Kiwi injured in violent protests

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A New Zealander injuring during ongoing violent protests in Thailand's capital Bangkok has been located by the New Zealand Embassy.

John Bailey was one of six foreigners hospitalised on the weekend after violence erupted in the city, but Bailey's injuries are not serious and he has been released from hospital.

The New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok had located Bailey but was not able to get to him due to the violence.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says 380 New Zealanders are registered as being in Bangkok, and 918 in the country itself, although there could be as many as 2000 New Zealanders in the capital.

The New Zealand government has advised against travel to Bangkok and those currently in the capital should consider departing. The government has authorised the voluntary departure of the families of New Zealand Embassy staff, Mr Key said.

Protests in Bangkok turned violent last week and 36 people have died in the fighting since Thursday, according to official medical sources. At least 65 people have been killed and more than 1600 wounded since the protest against the government began in mid-March.

The New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok is closed, and is likely to remain closed until at least Wednesday 19 May 2010.

Wittayu Road—Bangkok's embassy row—has been one of the areas affected by the violence with the street the scene of clashes between government soldiers and protesters. On Friday afternoon, bullets and teargas were fired up and down the road, with protestors responding with rocks, petrol bombs and homemade rockets.

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