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  1. #1
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    Thailand : Testing shoots down effectiveness of X-Ray vests

    Testing shoots down effectiveness of X-Ray vests
    Justin Heifetz
    Additional reporting by Nattha Thepbamrung.
    12/01/2014

    Tests have revealed that makeshift vests lined with X-ray film being sold to protesters are highly ineffective at stopping bullets and using them could prove fatal.


    The Bangkok Post Sunday conducted tests with two types of body armour being sold to protesters for 700 baht _ homemade cloth versions and manufactured Kevlar vests that were both lined with about 40 sheets of X-ray film on either side.

    In the experiment at a private shooting range in Pathum Thani, the homemade version failed to stop a single bullet.

    Shooter Somchai Cherdchai used 9mm and .45 ammunition from a range of distances, explaining that the hollow-tipped bullets were designed to cause maximum tissue damage. He expressed shock at how useless the vests were.

    ''It's scary. Anyone shot with this kind of bullet would be killed,'' he said.

    The test simulated conditions using raw pork meat _ experts confirm that pig tissue is physiologically closest to human tissue _ wrapped within the vests. In each test, the vests were attached to 20kg of pork meat and were shot at by a professional shooter to ensure accuracy.

    Even with the Kevlar version, the X-ray film proved ineffectual. For testing on the Kevlar vest, Somchai fired five .45 bullets from a distance of 15m. All five bullets were stopped by the 26th layer of X-ray film in the front panel.

    ''The bullets did not pierce the flesh, but the pork flesh was damaged,'' Somchai explained, adding, ''organs would be damaged by this kind of bullet''.

    The final trial on the Kevlar vest with X-ray film tested close-range shots. Somchai fired successive .45 rounds from 7m away, and all five bullets penetrated the front panel of the vest and X-ray film, through the pork and lodged in the back layer of the vest.

    ''If you were shot several times with a bullet like this, you would be killed,'' he said.

    Anan Jandontri, a former army volunteer from Pak Thong Chai in Nakhon Ratchasima province, sells Kevlar vests re-enforced with X-ray film to anti-government protestors in Bangkok. He said that he learned to make them during his time in the army, when he ''saw that many guards were shot. Many of them were severely injured and some of them died''.

    Mr Anan claimed he tested his vests with ''a real M16'' against a stack of about 40 X-ray films. Nine bullets were shot from 20m away and all the bullets lodged in the 15th layer of film. ''Then we began to distribute this type of vest to frontline demonstrators,'' he said.

    Mr Anan distributes the vests free of charge to some security guards, and for others he charges 700 baht. He said that he had given away some 100 vests and sold about 400.

    Timothy Huxley, executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in Singapore, said ''there's an urban myth in Thailand that multiple layers of used X-ray film can provide protection against bullets''.

    ''The main attraction is that a supposedly protective jacket packed with X-ray film costs a fraction of proper Kevlar equipment,'' he said.

    ''Businesses have grown up around the protest sites hawking these X-ray jackets. The concern is that, if the situation descends into violence [tomorrow], many people who think they're protected will be much more vulnerable than they think.''

    People's Democratic Reform Committee demonstrators began making and distributing the vests during mass rallies at the end of last month at three locations: Ratchadamnoen Avenue, around Government House and at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge. Women usually gather with sewing machines while a group of male protestors cut and fasten the X-ray films together. The vests are not sold for money; they are distributed free and returned at the end of the day. Demonstrators are urged to donate cloth material and X-ray films directly to the distributors.

    Brig Ben Barry, senior fellow for land warfare at the IISS in London, said that ''the X-ray sheets on their own don't provide much protection''. Instead of protecting against live ammunition, ''they might dissipate some of the blunt trauma and pain that can be inflicted by truncheons and rubber or plastic bullets'', he said.

    ''To protect against high-velocity bullets, such as those fired by rifles and machine guns at ranges of up to 600m that would still penetrate Kevlar, much harder, heavier and less flexible materials are required, such as hardened steel or ceramics.''

    Mr Huxley said, ''The test confirms pretty conclusively that even when combined with Kevlar, the X-rays provide little or no protection against shots from the most likely type of weapon.''




    bangkokpost.com

  2. #2
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    Bulletproof vests for sale, 700 baht

    You gets what you pays for....

  3. #3
    The Pikey Hunter
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    Should have bought a lucky amulet instead.....

  4. #4
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    Shooter Somchai Cherdchai used 9mm and .45 ammunition from a range of distances, explaining that the hollow-tipped bullets were designed to cause maximum tissue damage. He expressed shock at how useless the vests were.

    ''It's scary. Anyone shot with this kind of bullet would be killed,'' he said.

    Fuckin idiot ! in fact anyone who thinks a few sheets of Xray film is going to stop a bullet is a fuckin idiot ! the only ones who arent are the people making them and selling them they obviously have their heads screwed on and must be making a truckload from the gullible .

  6. #6
    Sukhumvet
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    So that's your character is it? Dupe the gullible for profit. What a fine upstanding person you are?

    Someone should report Mr. Anan to Consumer Protection, oh wait they just did. And yes Thailand has one!

  7. #7
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    fucking hell. home made bullet proof vests. genuine lol.

    Also after reading TD for a few years I can't take anything with "Somchai" in it seriously.

  8. #8
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    I'm going to market a line of inflatable bullet proof vests, they also double up as life preservers.

  9. #9
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    Wonder how many died at the shooting range where they tested the vests before someone called time?

  10. #10
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Wear a bullet proof vest. Get shot in the head. Brilliant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    Wear a bullet proof vest. Get shot in the head. Brilliant.
    Missing all their vital organs.

  12. #12
    The cold, wet one
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butterfly View Post
    For once, I'm with Flutters. Didn't know which part of that report was the funniest. The fact that people were buying them or the deadpan statement that being shot while wearing x ray film could prove fatal.

  13. #13
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    Reminds me of the British guy selling Bomb detectors BBC News - James McCormick guilty of selling fake bomb detectors

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casca
    Reminds me of the British guy selling Bomb detectors
    & you know what his biggest market was, right? But here, they're used as drug detectors too...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Casca
    Reminds me of the British guy selling Bomb detectors
    & you know what his biggest market was, right? But here, they're used as drug detectors too...
    that figures , cant understand how people got caught then - damn the people who were caught smuggling drugs must have been really stupid , guess that makes them British

  16. #16
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    Thai laws on body armor put journalists at risk
    John Le Fevre
    January 13, 2014


    Anti-government protesters occupy a major intersection in central Bangkok on January 13.

    (Reuters/Damir Sagolj)

    For the past several weeks journalists and media organizations in Thailand have been preparing for a fresh round of confrontation between anti-government protesters and government security forces. An attempt to paralyze the nation's capital through a protester-led, month-long shutdown began today.

    Having covered previous political confrontations in Thailand, including attempts by the same group of protesters to storm Government House in November, and observed first-hand the savagery with which elements of People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protest group have attacked security forces and intimidated and assaulted journalists, I have questioned with increasing urgency how to continue working safely.

    While the basic rule of covering conflicts safely by not standing between opposing forces is inviolable, recent clashes in Bangkok have shown that the danger area is apt to change rapidly and with little or no warning. That was the case during the previous round of street protests by opposing groups in 2010, where two journalists were killed and several others seriously injured by gunfire originating mainly from areas controlled by the Royal Thai Army.

    As a younger photojournalist working in areas of conflict, I tended to shy away from using body armor due to the physical strain of the added weight and decreased mobility. However, given the randomness in which firearms have been used by PDRC protesters in this conflict and by the Thai army in 2010, coupled with increasing age and slower mobility, I've determined that body armor is essential for my street-level reporting.

    While there is an abundance of body armor available for purchase at various outlets in Bangkok, including from shops located behind the Ministry of Defense and at the Chatuchak Weekend Market, a perfunctory examination shows the items are sub-standard and ill-equipped to deflect gunfire.

    Yet my attempts to import proper body armor has been thwarted by bureaucracy and labyrinthine import controls. The Thai Customs Department advised that I would first need to acquire import licenses from three separate government agencies, including two different Ministry of Defense departments. Thailand's Arms Control Act stipulates that a permit is required to possess such items, with fines and imprisonment penalties for non-compliance.

    Telephone calls and a visit to the Defense Energy Department showed that not only did officials not know how to proceed with my application, but that no media organization or individual in Thailand had ever applied for such a permit.

    The officer in charge of processing permit applications was at a loss over how to proceed and it was only after several hours of discussion that a decision was reached that he would accept an application to forward to his superiors.

    While the official expressed his understanding as to why I required the items as well as his hopes that my application would be approved, he and others tasked with processing my request also ventured their personal opinions that my application would most likely be denied.

    The vast array of documents originally requested in support of my application included: A criminal background check of my media company's director(s); A copy of the identification card/passport and home register of the company's director(s) and attorney; the Power of Attorney of the company; and the Power of Attorney of where the items are to be stored. Under Thailand's Arms Control Act there is no difference between importing and possessing a Kevlar helmet and importing and possessing munitions.
    Clearly the majority of these documents are not going to be available to most journalists, and with a criminal background check requiring about 45 days to process, my application is not going to be considered quickly. Letters I sent to Suranand Vejjajiva, secretary-general to the prime minister, and Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana regarding the issue have so far gone unanswered.

    Until allowances are made for the legal import and possession of body armor, Thai and foreign reporters will be forced to either break Thai law by possessing and wearing the items without a proper permit; play Russian roulette with costly items sent by mail, subject to seizure and forfeiture by the Thai Customs Department; or continue to be exposed to lethal threats while reporting.

    cpj.org

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