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Khon Kaen police deny charges pressed against hospitalised activist

Jack Burton

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Khon Kaen police deny charges pressed against hospitalised activist | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Lawyers for Human Rights
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The chief of police in Khon Kaen province is denying any charges have been laid against an activist sent to a psychiatric hospital there in connection with a possible lèse-majesté crime earlier this month. Prachatai’s website reports that 47 year old activist Tiwagorn Withiton, who posted pictures of himself wearing a T-shirt with a message relating to the monarchy, is still at the hospital.

“It is a medical issue and he is being treated accordingly.”

The director of Khon Kaen Rajanagarindra Psychiatric Hospital says doctors still have Tiwagorn under observation and are yet to come to a conclusion on his mental condition. He says there is a time frame to consider under Thai laws on mental health, and doctors will consider whether his mental condition “responds to treatment during this time.”

He mentioned that Tiwagorn has responded well and relatives can visit him freely, just like other patients.

The director-general of the Public Mental Health Department says a patient’s admission to a psychiatric hospital can be done voluntarily, with the consent of family, or by a court order, and that Tiwagorn’s case was voluntary.

However Tiwagorn’s mother claims officials turned up at his home on July 9 to arrest him. She says although she was some distance away her son appeared to resist being arrested before being bundled into a hospital vehicle.

In a related story, His Majesty the King has already stated he does not want to use Thailand’s strict lèse-majesté laws, which make it a crime to insult or criticise the royal family, but PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says people should still be careful what they say about the monarchy.

Some Thais charged with lèse-majesté offences have fled the country. Political activist Wanchalearm Satsakit, who was allegedly abducted in Cambodia in June, fled Thailand in 2014 after he was charged with violating the Computer Crime Act for running a Facebook page critical of the monarchy and the military government.

The PM says he has no idea why some have fled. He says the lèse-majesté law has not been used for a few years, but there are consequences for distorting information about the monarchy.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Khaosod English

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Crime

Thai man accidentally kills himself with homemade bomb

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Thai man accidentally kills himself with homemade bomb | The Thaiger

A young Thai man has accidentally killed himself with a homemade bomb in the Muang district of Kanchanaburi province this morning. 22 year old Amornthep Thongchomphu was found dead with his arm blown off after the bomb exploded in a field near his home.

Local police went to the scene at about 11am, outside the man’s house in Ban Nong Kung village of tambon Ban Thum. Police found the man’s dead body along with a scorched, ruptured PVC pipe. Village headman Boonruam Somwongsa says Amornthap stayed alone in the house as his mother worked abroad, sending home money. He was apparently jobless and was not known to socialise.

Boonruam says the man allegedly had a dispute with a neighbour previously and on 2 occasions had thrown a small bomb at his neighbour’s house, leading him to file a complaint. Boonruam says it was likely that Amornthep was making another bomb to throw at his neighbour when it accidentally detonated.

The Ban Ped police chief says another small homemade bomb was found at Amornthep’s house, with its components being possibly bought from online.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Motorbike taxi attacked tourist in Pattaya because he was annoyed

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Motorbike taxi attacked tourist in Pattaya because he was annoyed | The Thaiger

A Pattaya motorbike taxi driver is saying he was annoyed when he attacked a Chilean man out of nowhereearly yesterday morning. Amorn “Jeab” Boonmee was arrested after confessing to allegedly slapping and kicking 24 year old Salvatore Andres Castromedina, breaking his nose. According Khaosod English, Amorn says he acted in a “blind moment of fury” because he was annoyed by the man.

“I apologize. I was annoyed at the tourist who came up to speak to me and I didn’t understand what he was saying. He wouldn’t go when I told him to. I’m someone who gets annoyed easily, especially at people who talk a lot.”

Amorn allegedly attacked the man on Pattaya’s famous Walking Street at about 2am on Thursday with CCTV capturing the alleged incident.

Police say the incident has damaged Pattaya and Thailand’s overall image as well as its tourism. Investigators say they are waiting for a full medical report of Castromedina’s injuries before deciding what charges to bring upon Amorn.

According to Khaosod English, Castromedina said via an interpreter that this was his first time in Thailand. He went on to explain that he was asking the taxi driver for a ride to Soi Buakhao before being attacked.

According to Khaosod English, another motorbike taxi driver was seen in the CCTV footage. 45 year old Rittisak Kulsumaso says he tried to stop Amorn from attacking Castromedina.

“I really didn’t want this to happen. It’s already hard to make money. [Castromedina] had also been drinking alcohol.”

Rittisak says he is the one who took Castromedina to the police station to file a report. He also says he turned himself in after the incident took place. Castromedina was sent to the hospital after the attack for medical treatment. According to Khaosod English, a picture shows police officers giving Castromedina a basket of chicken essence soup, wishing him a speedy recovery.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Police officer arrested for allegedly stealing grenade launcher and other weapons

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police officer arrested for allegedly stealing grenade launcher and other weapons | The Thaiger
SOURCE: Nation Thailand

A police officer was arrested for allegedly stealing a M79 grenade launcher and other weapons from a police station armoury in Mae Hong Son, a province in Northern Thailand bordering Myanmar. Police say officer Santichai Luerat planned to sell the guns and ammunition to a buyer who would then sell the weapons to members of an ethnic minority across the border in Myanmar.

Sao Hin Police Station commissioner says he noticed a number of weapons were missing from the station’s amoury – a M79 grenade launcher, 9 guns, 21 rifles and a flak jacket. A video recorder was also stolen, police say. Police have confiscated 4 of the stolen guns, 6 rifles and the flak jacket, but the rest of the weapons are still missing.

Santichai is an officer from the Kong Koi Police Station and lives near the Sao Hin station. Reports do not say what charges the officer faces or if he was transferred from his post. Police are still investigating and searching for the missing grenade launcher, guns and rifles.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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