The Curious Case of Conor David Purcell

Picture of Conor David Purcell in Bangkok Post (Picture by Richard Barrow)

On April 18 an Australian man named Conor David Purcell appeared on the red shirts’ rally stage to give an eyewitness account on the violent clashes of April 10.

Video by ThaiTVNews, watch part 2 here.

It is not the first time that we have seen farangs at the red rally, but no one has been that vocal and gained that much attention than Purcell, case in point this Bangkok Post story published on Sunday.

Conor David Purcell, a former Australian military reservist, is a long way from home. The 29-year-old has two infected hip wounds, no money, no passport and survives on handouts from his Thai and foreign friends.

But when he takes to the red shirt stage at Ratchaprasong, thousands of people stop and listen attentively to the Irish-born Aussie “military” man as he reads his speeches, which are immediately translated into Thai. (…)

The red shirt leaders nod their approval at Mr Purcell, who claims to have done “quite extensive” work with the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) and trained with the Singapore and Malaysia military. (…)

Mr Purcell, who claims a political science degree from the University of Western Australia, says he had always been an admirer of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his poverty-alleviation policies. (…)

He says he was injured by two silicon-coated bullets while trying to shelter behind an APC secured by the reds and now has a “dirty wound” which cannot be stitched and has to be treated with antibiotics.

During the skirmish he lost his Australian emergency passport and 1,400 baht. He signed a statutory declaration at the Australian embassy on April 20 detailing his ordeal. “They said you have to go home straight away, then they walked back into their air-conditioned office and made themselves a cup of tea,” Mr Purcell said.

Wounded Australian on handouts takes to red shirt stage“, Bangkok Post, May 2, 2010

Of course the Australian Embassy, at least one source, has told the Bangkok Post to take this fellow’s story “with a big dose of salt,” and was also sure that he has “actually broken quite a few Thai laws“. Purcell himself has denied ever interfered in Thai political affairs, as he was only giving an eyewitness account (see above).

He made a second appearance on April 27, where he gave a statement after the deadly blasts at Silom on April 22.

Video by ThaiTVNews, watch part 2 here.

So that doesn’t sound much like a witness account, more like a rally statement to me. While I don’t deny everyone’s right, Thais and foreigners alike, to express their political opinion, I’m skeptical about Purcell’s background (and so does this fellow blogger as well).

Who does this bloke thinks he is? The Last Samurai? Lawrence of Arabia?!


12 thoughts on “The Curious Case of Conor David Purcell

  1. coner is a realy nice guy give him a break man he is a one of my best mates in thailand he used to teach me mauythai for free he is a kind person its disgusting that the thai authorittys have treated him in this manner i can not comprehend that why he is detained in max security confinement in the notorious bangkok hilton he was on his ass and no where to live with no food then he went to the red shirts for company and free food so he would be safe sleeping on the streets in numbers, we were in the same guest house for 6 months then he got kicked out due to alcoholism and not being able to pay the rent then me and my friend met him in an other guest house and then all 3 of us got kicked out of that guest house. at that current time he was dirty and on the streets disorientated and in a vulnerable condition now he is being subjected to intimidation humiliation demoralissing degrading conditions incarcerated in jail when he should be in a psychiatric hospital, he needs compassion and medical assistance now he is being PUNISHED for standing up for democratic rights for the people, FREE RED SHIRT CONER PURCEL from DAVID ADAM.

  2. Democracy? Justice? The red shirt struggle? An election? At gunpoint? A grassroots movement of hard done by farmers? Hardly…it’s a paid campaign for a revolution and anyone who can’t see that whatever they think of the current Prime Minster is a fool.

    I live in Issan and all of these redshirts are now getting paid money for their “bravery and service to the BIG BOSS” up here as they return to their villages and promises of more for the next protest they hope to organize soon…this is what is going on right now in the areas near Udon Thani and I am sure others.

    This movement is the work of a power hungry madman and people like this fool who aided the terrorism these “hard done by rural people” did is worthy of a long prison term. I hope they put him away as an example to all the other lost falangs here who have nothing better to do with their time except drink Chang beer.

    One more thing is that in this day and age Thaksin can buy every major news organization
    in the world so he can pick up an international audience. His local audience knows the truth… and don’t believe his cries of …set up.

    He belongs in one place and one place only: JAIL. His magazine was banned today. TAKSIN it was called a recent issue had an article in Thai praising Stalin and his revolution against the monarchy in Russia with a caption saying something like “We need to do this now as the time is right”. On the one issue that got them banned today was a cover picture of Abhisit and Suthep with nooses around their necks. Perhaps some of the commentators here and other sites should attempt to read those articles and then can reconsider their opinions.

  3. I am an old friend of Connor, this man has a heart of gold and should be applauded for joining in another nations struggle. Why should foreigners be excluded, we’re taking about justice here not race. Well done Connor. All the best and lots of love to you man. Adam

    1. Justice? Are you kidding? Apparently you know nothing about Thai politics or this situation. It is about money and greed and this guy picked the wrong side. Your “friend” is either a dope or a con-man. You choose!

  4. This is one of the few areas where I have agreed with the propaganda from the Abhisit government – I don’t think foreigners should be allowed to participate in the demonstrations, and certainly not allowed to make speeches. This guy looks dodgy to say the least, but for me the main reason is he’s not a Thai citizen and he can’t vote. Simple.

    Of course it gets more complex in a more multi-cultural society such as the UK, where many demonstrators are from some ethnic or minority group. But they are naturalised citizens with British passports who pay tax, so you could argue they have a right to protest.

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