BANGKOK?A Japanese cameraman with the Reuters news agency was among those killed during violent clashes between soldiers and anti-government protesters in Bangkok, the media group said Sunday.
Hiro Muramoto, who arrived in the Thai capital on Thursday to cover the month-old protests, was shot in the chest late on Saturday while covering clashes in the historic part of Bangkok.
He arrived at Bangkok's Klang Hospital without a pulse, Reuters said.
It added that Muramoto, 43, who had worked for Reuters in Tokyo for more than 15 years, was married with two children.
"Reuters is dreadfully saddened by the death of our colleague Hiro Muramoto, a cameraman who was killed in the Bangkok clashes," David Schlesinger, Reuters Editor-in-Chief, said in a statement.
"Journalism can be a terribly dangerous profession for those being thrust into the center of the action. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Muramoto-san's family.
"All of us at Thomson Reuters mourn this terrible tragedy."
The agency said the bullet that killed Muramoto had exited his back, quoting the director of the hospital where he was taken, but said it was not known what type of bullet it was or who had fired it.
At least 19 other people were killed and around 800 were injured when security forces launched their crackdown on the "Red Shirt" protesters.
Both sides have accused the other of using live ammunition, but the government on Sunday denied firing live rounds at protesters.
The army said some soldiers fired live ammunition into the air to try to disperse demonstrators while others used blanks and rubber bullets.
Reuters said the agency was in contact with Thai authorities to determine exactly what had happened and that the circumstances of Muramoto's death were still under review.
The Japanese government called on Thailand to investigate the death and urged Bangkok "to pay the utmost consideration to the safety of Japanese nationals".
Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya expressed his condolences over Muramoto's death in a message addressed to his Japanese counterpart, Tokyo's foreign ministry said.
The Japanese police plan to investigate Muramoto's death with the cooperation of the Thai police and the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok, news agency Kyodo reported.
They will also conduct an autopsy on Muramoto in Japan, the agency said, without giving details about its sources. There will be an autopsy on his body in Thailand on Monday, it added.