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2 activists could face life in prison for alleged violations against a royal motorcade

Caitlin Ashworth

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2 activists could face life in prison for alleged violations against a royal motorcade | Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter: @SAHINOP

2 pro-democracy activists could face life in prison for alleged intention to harm HM the Queen’s liberty during Wednesday afternoon’s rally in Bangkok, which happened to coincide with the same time and same route as a royal motorcade. The Criminal Court issued the arrest warrants yesterday.

Violence against the Queen or her liberty, in Section 110 of Thailand’s Criminal Code, has a punishment of 16 years to life in prison. The Bangkok Post says the punishment could be more severe if the activists are also found guilty of violating Thailand’s lèse majesté law, Section 112, which has a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for insulting or defaming the Royal Family.

The warrants are issued for pro-democracy activists Ekkachai Hongkangwan and Bunkueanun Paothon. Reports don’t go into detail about what the activists allegedly did to violate the laws, but many protesters got passed security to an area on Phitsanulok Road holding the royal motorcade and were seen holding their hands up in the 3 finger salute, a symbol of defiance against the military-run government.

More than 20 protester arrests

Early the next morning, as protesters were gathered in front of the Government House to put pressure on PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign, the prime minister declared a State of Emergency, banning gatherings of more than 5 people. Police dispersed the camp-out protest, which was intended to go on for a few days, and 23 people were arrested with some facing charges of violating the emergency decree and organising illegal demonstrations.

5 activists leaders were arrested. Some say they were denied bail. 2 of the leaders, Arnon Nampa and Prasit Khrutharoj, were sent to Chiang Mai on arrest warrants issued in the northern province. Reports say Arnon faces sedition charges.

High-ranking police officers transferred

3 high-ranking police officers were abruptly transferred after Wednesday’s pro-democracy protest and are being investigated for alleged negligence. Reports do not go into detail about the probe, but Nation Thailand says the order was given by the Royal Thai Police’s newly appointed national police commander, Suwat Jangyodsuk. Nation Thailand says senior officers Somprasong Yentuam, Prasai Jittasonthi and Manop Sukhonthanapat were ordered to step down from their posts.

Continuing protests

Despite the newly imposed emergency decree, thousands gathered yesterday at the busy Ratchaprasong intersection, many protesting the shut down of Wednesday’s protest with the emergency order and the arrest of activists. So many people turned up, that police worried about how much weight the skywalk above the intersection could hold.

The Bangkok Post says protesters will return at 5pm today.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Nation Thailand

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Odd that the Queen’s car was unescorted and heading the cavalcade – not normal at all, but there’s clearly no escort in the photo.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Ah there are two motorcycle cops top right hand corner – hard to see but they are there.

    • Avatar

      Paul D McCarty

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      The government hiding behind the insane royal family. What a pair of major incompetents.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 3:27 pm

      2 x police motorcyclists, both on one side of the road, is far from a normal escort for a royal motorcade and that’s confirmed in other photos.

      It’s not as if police and security escorts are anything unusual here – it’s routine at all levels and follows standard operating procedures.

      I don’t want to go “Q Anon”, but I seriously doubt this could have just been down to an oversight.

  3. Avatar

    Dreamon

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    we are in XXI century it is just ridiculous have a royal family with so much power.

  4. Avatar

    Fabian

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Protesters want modernization of the monarchy and democracy. These are however two separate topics. The monarchy is for Thai people a very sensitive matter. Many have a narrow vision about the monarchy because there is actually one (positive) vision allowed, which is propagandized.

    Prayut has proven in the last days again that the democracy really needs to be reformed. I would suggest to the protesters to focus on that first. If they want the monarchy to be changed why not through a healthy democracy instead of protesting?

    Sometimes you need to go step by step.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 1:44 pm

      Yes I agree, obtain democracy first and then if the population wishes it, reform the monarchy.
      Demanding the two at the same time is too much to ask.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        Friday, October 16, 2020 at 3:17 pm

        Agree, regardless of the politics.

        Combining so many different issues is divisive by itself, since unless you support all the issues you can’t support the core issue of democracy.

        However well intentioned or justified, the leaders have made a massive mistake, whether intentionally or not, by making this about the monarchy instead of about democracy.

  5. Avatar

    gosport

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    Life sentence is just fine for the rioters leaders, they should be laid down for others future as they proclaimed. Fulfill your promise, dont whine!

    • Avatar

      brian

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 5:24 pm

      There has been no ‘riot’ and I cannot see how a 3 fingered salute threatens anyone.

  6. Avatar

    Richard Joynes

    Friday, October 16, 2020 at 5:43 pm

    The route seems to have been carefully chosen. Why drive right by the demonstrators?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 8:01 pm

      Particularly as the planned and published route wasn’t past the demonstration, but the route was changed without notice.

      A cynic might suggest that someone was deliberately looking for a confrontation …..

    • Avatar

      TS

      Saturday, October 17, 2020 at 4:32 pm

      an excerpt from an article in the Asia Sentinal and so true:
      “This whole incident stinks of a set-up, sending out members of the family to spark an incident where protesters would confront the queen and show disrespect. The fact that the king hid in his palace while sending his wife and son into harm’s way tells you everything you need to know about the man”
      Grow a pair, X man.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Protests

Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests

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Attendance on the wane for Thai democracy protests | Thaiger
PHOTO: Demonstration attendance has been falling in the face of Covid-19, coups and crackdowns.

While protesters against the Thai government are continuing as they have for endless months, attendance is lessening in the face of crackdowns, coups and Covid-19. The throngs of 10,000 plus protesters, mostly energetic youth, that waved The Hunger Games 3 finger salute and demanded change in Thailand last summer have thinned to a few thousand or less these days.

The government isn’t in the clear yet though, as the protester’s calls to replace the current government, lessen the power of the Thai monarchy, and draw up a new constitution are still popular ideas. But a number of factors are causing protester size and vigour to wane.

The second wave of Covid in December quickly curbed the daily demonstrations for fear of spreading the virus. After that, the coup in Myanmar on February 1 has brought massive protests with international attention shifting to the growing humanitarian crisis just across the border. On top of the pandemic and the Burmese coup, the Thai government has taken a much more hardline approach to protesters in recent months.

Police began fighting back against mass demonstrations, dispersing crowds with water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets. And after 2 years of leniency, the government has begun prosecuting people under the strict lèse-majesté laws, where offending the monarchy can carry harsh punishment including a jail sentence of up to 15 years.

Anon Nampa, a human-rights lawyer, and Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, a student activist, have already been arrested under this law and held without bail. Arrests like these have been demoralising for the pro-democracy movement, and have scared away a lot of Thai protesters. Many have shifted focus to more immediate efforts to demand the release of the detained protest leaders.

Even with the crowds shrinking, the protests have already brought about change, bringing once unspeakable conversations into the national conversation, and keeping pressure on Thailand’s leaders. Opposition is growing, with efforts to push no-confidence votes and amendments to the constitution being constantly proposed and advocated.

SOURCE: The Economist

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