Woman says Prime Minister’s security assaulted her

PHOTO: The woman arrested for causing chaos yesterday has accused the prime minister's security team of assault. (via TV screen cap)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is facing new scrutiny for the alleged misconduct of his security staff. Yesterday, The Thaiger reported on a woman charged with causing chaos in public as the prime minister passed. But now, former Puea Chart Party election candidate, Wanthana Othong, is telling her side of the story. She has filed a complaint against PM Prayut’s security team, claiming she was assaulted during the prime minister’s visit to Ratchaburi on Monday.

Wanthana and her lawyer filed the complaint with the Central Investigation Bureau yesterday. The report claims that Wanthana was waiting by the roadside as a private citizen and local vendor, not as a politician when she was assaulted by the prime minister’s security.

A vendor in the Bang Pong district of Ratchaburi, Wanthana went to air her grievances to the Prime Minister about her job. But when she tried, she claims she was forcefully removed from the roadside by uniformed and plain-clothed security personnel.

A video clip circulating on social media captured two female police officers in uniform dragging the 62 year old woman away. A third officer attempted to shield her with an umbrella to hide the action from witnesses or cameras.

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After being manhandled and hauled away, the former election candidate said she suffered from a swollen arm from the rough police officers. She claims the injury prevented her from working as a vendor.

Police said the woman insulted the prime minister and blocked the road in front of a community hall in the central province of Ratchaburi 10 minutes before the PM arrived at the scene. They say she rushed to the middle of the road and raised a three-finger salute, while loudly complaining about the PM’s work.

According to the police, two policewomen and one policeman tried to persuade Wantana to move but she refused and tried to get back on the road. Wantana continued to shout at the PM so one of the policewomen covered her mouth. One officer claimed that Wantana bit her finger when she covered her mouth.

Wanthana claims it wasn’t her who shouted vitriol at Prayut as his motorcade. She said there were a few women shouting near her who were not fans of the government. Wanthana suggests that perhaps the police heard them shouting profanity and thought it was her.

She maintained that she was not there to make trouble or rally against the prime minister, but was hoping to have a chance to complain about her job, though the specifics of her complaint were not named.

Wanthana stood in the 2019 general election in Ratchaburi’s Constituency 4 for the Puea Chart Party, which was allied with the Pheu Thai Party.

While Thailand may not be a beacon of free speech and protected political protest, many were still shocked by the video footage of an elderly former politician being brutishly dragged off by police for shouting at the prime minister.

Central Thailand NewsPolitics News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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