Reuters journalist killed in Bangkok protests

BANGKOK Sat Apr 10, 2010 2:40pm EDT

An undated photo of Reuters television cameraman Hiro Muramoto. Muramoto, a 43-year-old Japanese national, was shot dead on April 10, 2010 during a violent clash between Thai troops and anti-government protesters in Bangkok that killed 12 people. REUTERS/Staff

An undated photo of Reuters television cameraman Hiro Muramoto. Muramoto, a 43-year-old Japanese national, was shot dead on April 10, 2010 during a violent clash between Thai troops and anti-government protesters in Bangkok that killed 12 people.

Credit: Reuters/Staff

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BANGKOK (Reuters) - A Reuters television cameraman was shot dead on Saturday during a violent clash between Thai troops and anti-government protesters in Bangkok that killed 12 people.

Hiro Muramoto, a 43-year-old Japanese national, was shot in the chest and arrived at Klang Hospital without a pulse, hospital Director Dr Pichaya Nakwatchara said.

Muramoto, who had worked for Reuters in Tokyo for more than 15 years, was married with two children.

"I am dreadfully saddened to have lost our colleague Hiro Muramoto in the Bangkok clashes," said Reuters Editor-in-Chief David Schlesinger.

"Journalism can be a terribly dangerous profession as those who try to tell the world the story thrust themselves in the center of the action. The entire Reuters family will mourn this tragedy."

Muramoto had been covering fighting between troops and protesters in the Rajdumnoen Road area where soldiers opened fire with rubber bullets and tear gas, as well as live rounds into the air, in Bangkok's worst political violence in 18 years.

The hospital director said the bullet had exited his back. He did not know what kind of bullet it was.

An army spokesman said protesters were armed with guns and had been throwing petrol bombs and grenades at troops.

Twelve people, including three soldiers, were killed and more than 500 people wounded in the fighting near the Phan Fah bridge and Rajdumnoen Road in Bangkok's old quarter, a protest base near government buildings and the regional U.N. headquarters.

(Writing by Jason Szep; Editing by John Chalmers and Nick Macfie)

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