Hiro Muramoto

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Muramoto, 43, was shot in the chest in Bangkok's Old Town area while covering armed clashes between security forces and red-shirted protesters with the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, or UDD, according to news accounts and CPJ interviews.

A 15-year Reuters veteran based in Tokyo, Muramoto was pronounced dead at a Bangkok hospital. He was one of two foreign journalists killed during violent political unrest that gripped the capital for several weeks. Fabio Polenghi, an Italian freelance photographer, was killed in crossfire in May.

A Reuters investigation, which drew on information from two unidentified witnesses, found that Muramoto "was shot almost certainly by a high-velocity bullet fired at street level while standing in a street between Thai troops and red shirt protesters." A summary of the Reuters inquiry, reviewed by CPJ, said that Muramoto "was not shot at close range" and that "both troops and protesters had high-velocity weapons at the time of Hiro's death and there were casualties on both sides that night." The findings contradicted initial government assertions that Muramoto had been shot by a UDD sniper positioned on a nearby rooftop.

By December 2010, Thailand's Department of Special Investigation was focusing on security forces as the likely source of fire. Reuters, quoting from a leaked department report, said the death "was caused by a high-velocity bullet as gunfire flashed from the direction of soldiers." Reuters called for the report to be publicly released.

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