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A night of drama as 2 protesters face court in Bangkok over “sedition” charges

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A night of drama as 2 protesters face court in Bangkok over “sedition” charges | Thaiger
PHOTO: A crowd of around 200 had gathered in front of the Bangkhen Police Station - Prachatai

Anon Nampa, a human rights lawyer, and student activist Panupong Jadnok, are both under arrest on “sedition” charges after they took part in protests on July 18. They’ve been arrested under Section 116 of the Criminal Code and for allegedly violating the Emergency Decree. After a night of dramatic legal to-and-fro, the 2 were back in court again this morning.

Anon was arrested in front of his condominium yesterday afternoon. Around 8 uniformed and plain clothes police officers came to arrest him and took him to the Samranrat Police Station in Phra Nakhon, Bangkok.

Anon also posted a picture of the arrest warrant on his Facebook page… “I have been arrested.”

The warrant accuses him of sedition, of organising a protest involving 10 or more people, and threatening to cause violence or a breach of peace under Section 215 of the Criminal Code, violating the Emergency Decree which bans large gatherings (which has since been removed from the emergency decree on August 1), obstructing the public way without permission under Section 385 of the Criminal Code, violating Section 19 of the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country Act, and using a loudspeaker without permission under the Controlling Public Advertisement by Sound Amplifier Act.

The head of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights spoke to the media saying that Anon can only be detained “no more than 48 hours before he has to be presented before the court. At that time he will likely seek bail.”

Yaowalak also said that the warrant named Anon as the 7th suspect, suggesting that his arrest is part of a “larger crackdown on anti-government activists.”

Then at 3pm yesterday a Rayong-based student activist, who is already known to police after trying to raise a protest sign when the PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s visited Rayong last month, was also arrested in front of Ramkhamhaeng University (photo below). Anon was then escorted to the Bangkok Police Station.

Panupong was named the 5th suspect on the arrest warrant and list of charges was the same as Anon. It’s understood that around 30 other people involved in organising the July 18 protest, or spoke at the protests, could also be targetted for arrest.

Around 5.30pm both Panupong and Anon were taken to the Bangkok Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights claim that police had forced Panupong to sign a statement without his lawyer being present. He was then taken to court without his lawyer.

The arrests have taken place after Anon gave a surprisingly candid speech at the Harry Potter-themed protest on August 3 calling for reform of Thailand’s revered Monarchy which included some open criticism of Thailand’s head of state.

The Free People Group announced yesterday that they will be holding another protest on 16 August. Anon was also due to speak on monarchy reform at a rally in Chiang Mai tomorrow. It’s unlikely he’ll be attending that event at this stage.

At 6pm Anon arrived at the Bangkok Criminal Court. There was still a court officer waiting to process the request for temporary detention, even though Court officially closed at 5.30pm.

A night of drama as 2 protesters face court in Bangkok over

A crowd of around 200 had gathered in front of the Bangkhen Police Station just after 7pm calling for Anon and Panupong’s release. The Bangkhen Police Station then issued them an order to end the demonstration by 8pm.

Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, a member of the Student Union of Thailand, tore up the order and said that the demonstration will not end until both Anon and Panupong have been released. During the protest Parit played a recording of Anon’s speech on monarchy reform from the August 3 protest.

In court, Anon requested that the Court consider the objection against his temporary detention request, which was filed after official working hours and therefore unlawful. 8 Move Forward party MPs attended the out-of-hours court hearing and offered their positions as elected officials as security to post bail for the 2 men.

A crowd of around 50 people is also gathering at the Criminal Court to hear whether the Court will approve of the Police’s temporary detention request and whether Anon and Panupong would be granted bail.

The Criminal Court did not accept the temporary detention requests for the 2 men as the request was submitted outside of working hours and ordered the officers to bring them in for detention again within 48 hours.

Anon wrote a note and handed it to the media….

“I am willing to sacrifice my freedom to stand by my principles. I ask all of you to come out and fight for our goals. Don’t waste your time on freeing Anon. Use your time to fight for the goals we are fighting for.

As the Court refused the temporary detention requests, police officers can no longer hold them in custody. But police brought Anon and Panupong back to be held at the Samranrat Police Station.

Around 11.30pm, Police officers forced Anon and Panupong into a police van to be detained at Samranrat Police Station to wait for another court hearing. The assembled crowd were shouting “stop abducting citizens”.

The superintendent of the Huai Khwang Police Station informed the crowd that Anon and Panupong would be held overnight at the police station.

The pair attended another court hearing this morning at 8am.

SOURCE: Prachatai

A night of drama as 2 protesters face court in Bangkok over

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 9:51 am

    The court refuse a temporary detention order but the police still detain them!
    This is what is expected from Thailand rotten corrupt police.
    All this will do is inflame the citizens to protest harder, and worse.
    Full scale rioting is the only action that will remove this dictatorship and their oppression.

    • Avatar

      Brian

      Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 10:11 am

      Please do not suggest that rioting would be helpful. Protesters keeping their eyes on righteous goals and working tirelessly, selflessly, and peacefully toward those goals will eventually achieve them.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Saturday, August 8, 2020 at 12:43 pm

        Not with Thais who wear a uniform or have power.
        They do not believe in democracy. They believe in King Kong.
        The biggest most powerful take it all, and never give up the power unless they are forced to.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

2 police officers transferred over Covid cluster linked to Bangkok nightlife

Maya Taylor

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2 police officers transferred over Covid cluster linked to Bangkok nightlife | Thaiger
PHOTO: Gerry Popplestone / Flickr

2 senior police officers in Bangkok’s fashionable Thonglor district have been transferred pending an investigation into a Covid-19 cluster linked to pubs and clubs in the area. According to Thai PBS World, the superintendent of Thonglor police station, Duangchote Suwancharas, and the inspector for suppression affairs, Thanakorn Ngamyen, were re-assigned to the operations centre of the Metropolitan Police Bureau’s 5th Division yesterday.

The transfers were ordered by the commander of the 5th Division, Sophon Sarapat, who has placed Kampanart Arunsri in the role of acting superintendent of Thonglor police.

The pubs and clubs of Thonglor are popular with “Hi-So” Thais, including celebrities, politicians, business figures, and senior government officials. The third wave of Covid-19, currently surging across the country, is thought to have sprung from Thonglor’s party scene. Revellers at the district’s nightlife venues are being blamed for a rapid rise in infections which has now led to over 1,000 infections in Bangkok alone. The highly contagious UK variant, aka B117, was also detected in the Thonglor cluster.

Bangkok officials are planning a number of field hospitals to cope with a rise in infections that may lead to bed shortages in the capital’s hospitals. Several facilities in the city have suspended Covid-19 testing amid speculation they have run out of beds. Everyone who tests positive for the virus is admitted to hospital for quarantine and treatment purposes, even if asymptomatic. This is believed to be contributing to the bed shortage, but officials say they have no intention of changing a policy that has previously enabled them to contain the virus more effectively.

A new field hospital is set to open near Bangkok City Hall at the sports stadium in the Bang Bon district today.

Officials say 3 other field hospitals are ready and a number of hotels, many of which have already served as alternative state quarantine facilities, will also operate as “hospitels”, housing asymptomatic patients and those with only mild symptoms. City officials say that between them, the field hospitals and hotels can accommodate up to 5,000 patients.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Hua Hin

Health officials say pubs, nightlife venues the new ground zero for third wave

Maya Taylor

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Health officials say pubs, nightlife venues the new ground zero for third wave | Thaiger
PHOTO: mtgf93 / Flickr

Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Thailand, with 967 new infections reported yesterday, when there were just 26 at the start of the month. Health officials are in no doubt where the surge is coming from, pointing the finger at nightlife venues. A rise in infections in Hua Hin appears to back up the theory first floated after a cluster of infections was linked to Bangkok nightlife.

The Bangkok Post reports that the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan has recorded 193 cases since the start of the month. 142 of them are in Hua Hin and officials believe they can be traced back to 1 “super-spreader” individual. A 26 year old woman, employed at the Krystal Club in Bangkok, travelled to Hua Hin with her boyfriend on March 30. At the time of her journey, she was showing no sign of infection.

On her first night in Hua Hin, she went to the Maya Exclusive Pub with 7 friends and family members. The next day, she developed a high fever, and the following day, April 1, was informed that her colleagues at the Krystal Club had tested positive for Covid-19. The woman went to a Hua Hin hospital to be tested and was confirmed as infected on April 3.

On April 4, she was admitted to Hua Hin hospital, but by then, the virus was already spreading in Hua Hin. The woman’s boyfriend tested positive, as did 140 people in Hua Hin, and 52 in other districts. The Public Health Ministry says the infections can be traced back to the woman’s attendance at the Maya pub on March 30.

Officials are using this example to illustrate the role pubs and entertainment venues play in this third wave of the virus. They say at least 137 nightlife establishments in at least 15 provinces are behind new surges of infection. Leading virologist Yong Poovorwan from Chulalongkorn University says the development is all the more concerning, given that the original cluster linked to Bangkok nightlife is the B117 variant, which is far more contagious.

Meanwhile, Opas Karnkawinpong from the Department of Disease Control accuses partygoers of not cooperating with contact-tracing officials, which makes controlling the spread of infection more difficult.

“Many pubgoers do not give us information until two or three days have passed.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded

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Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: VIP clubs and their wealthy customers may have violated rules and led to Covid-19 outbreaks

Investigations are being demanded by a corruption watchdog into Thai politicians infected with Covid-19 after allegedly attending venues in the Thong Lor entertainment venues in Bangkok that have now emerged as the ground zero for the Coronavirus third wave in the Kingdom.

The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand are being asked to investigate the latest Covid-19 outbreak, noting in a Facebook post that the second wave was also linked to illegal activities, spreading through illegal migrants and other visiting gambling dens. This third wave is also angering those who see the wealthy elite and powerful politicians frequenting high-end bars and not following Covid-19 safety protocols.

Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of ACT argues that the ministers visiting these clubs did not behave “ethically”, and it’s part of a larger problem. He is pushing for legal action against not only club owners, but against police, public health officials, and even the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration for failing to enforce laws to protect against Covid-19.

Investigations into whether the code of ethics had been violated were requested to be carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ombudsman and the committee on ethical standards.

As entertainment venues have been ordered closed for at least 2 weeks, Mana proposes that along with restrictions, a hotline to report rule-breakers should be set up, and all people should be held to the same standard without exception.

The president of the Rural Doctors Society agreed, saying that especially important is the need for Covid-19 infected public officials to disclose their personal timelines to reassure the public and assist in contract tracing. It is feared that little or no action will be taken to investigate and punish powerful rulebreakers.

One controversial infection was that of Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, rumoured to be infected from Thong Lor nightclubs, but later shown to be in another province at the time. The entertainment venue outbreak was not completely innocent though, as details emerged that the minister’s infection was in fact passed to him via an aide who had frequented clubs in Thong Lor.

Chuvit Kamolvisit, a former massage parlour owner turned activist, has been outspoken on the issue, calling for investigations into high-society VIP clubs like Krystal Club and Emerald Club, who allegedly flaunted restrictions and ended up with dozens of Covid-19 infected staff members.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau chief had said that legal action was pending against these clubs for the virus spreading.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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