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Attempt to kill former red shirt leader linked to ‘personal dispute’

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– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Attempt to kill former red shirt leader linked to ‘personal dispute’
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The attempt to kill a key red shirt leader in Chiang Mai on Saturday evening was likely the result of a personal conflict, police said.

Niyom Luangcharoen, “DJ Lae”, former leader of Rak Chiang Mai 51, is under heavy security at Chiang Mai Hospital after an unknown number of gunmen fired about 30 bullets at him at around 7.30pm.

He is in stable condition after being hit by two bullets: one in his right wrist and another in his right knee. The attack occurred while he was having dinner with four friends and relatives at his home. He said he was opening his refrigerator to get water when it began.

He dropped to the floor and pulled the refrigerator over his body to protect himself against the hail of bullets, he said. His four companions said they could not see the shooters because it was dark. None of them were targeted.

Niyom said he suspected that his attackers intended to kill him in order to silence him. He said he had previously identified them to police in regard to other cases, but did not say what type of cases these were.

Niyom said he had provided a list of suspects in the attack to Lieutenant Songsak Tanyadi, an investigator at San Kamphaeng Police Station.

A senior provincial police officer said cartridges of AK 47 bullets were found at the scene.

Police are investigating personal conflicts, he said, as Niyom had conflicts with several people and was targeted in another shooting three years ago. Police have not ruled out that the attack was political, however.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Crime

10 million baht in damages from alleged wholesale pajama scam

Caitlin Ashworth

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10 million baht in damages from alleged wholesale pajama scam | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Agenda Thai

A wholesale online shopping scam allegedly tricked dozens of people who wanted to start a pajama business. People spent around a total of 10 million baht for pajamas that were never shipped out.

A large group of victims filed complaints together against a Facebook page advertising wholesale packs of pajamas at the Ministry of Justice. They wore matching white shirts with a symbol of a judge’s gavel and block.

The victims say they transferred money to a Facebook page named “Pajamas by Shopping” in October 2019. After waiting months to receive their orders, the victims filed a complaint. It’s unclear how many complaints were filed, but Thai media says there hundreds of people were scammed, adding up to 10 million baht in damages. The scam allegedly had multiple accounts at various banks.

The victims first filed complaints with their local police departments, but they say nothing was done. Since the victims are from many different provinces, they decided to file complaints together with the Ministry of Justice.

The victims claim the same scammer started another Facebook page called “Wholesale Pajamas” in Thai. They say the group is still scamming people who want to start a pajama business.

The Department of Special Investigations is looking into the complaints and says victims can register their names on the department’s website.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Protests

Heightened security at Thai parliament ahead of Thursday’s pro-democracy protest

Maya Taylor

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Heightened security at Thai parliament ahead of Thursday’s pro-democracy protest | The Thaiger
Construction work at the Sappaya-Sapasathan building - PHOTO: Supanut Arunoprayote / Wikipedia

Security is being tightened to the highest level around Thailand’s new parliament building, in advance of Thursday’s planned anti-government protest. The protest was announced on Sunday as the weekends’ anti-government rally came to an end around Sunday lunchtime. Additional measures to beef up security include the readying of an evacuation helicopter, in the event that officials need to “take flight”. But, in a gesture of goodwill, the government is planning to lay on food stalls and toilets for the protesters.

The Sappaya-Sapasathan building, where officials plan to debate a re-writing of the constitution, is not yet finished, with Assembly Secretary-General, Sorasak Pienwech, pointing out the facility cannot currently cope with thousands of protesters. He has put forward a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that protesters delay their rally by about a year.

“If the mob waits for a year, everything will be better.”

According to a report in Coconuts, Sorasak says the increased security around the building will in no way prevent protesters from exercising their right to freedom of speech. In addition to the helicopter on standby, extra police officers are being drafted in, as well as a 24 hour security patrol along the Chao Phraya River.

The Sappaya-Sapasathan building was announced as the site for Thursday’s rally by protest leader Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak during the weekend. Part of the group, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, he says the protest at the new home of the Thai parliament aims to pressure the government into making real change as it debates the re-drafting of the country’s constitution, which are scheduled to start on Wednesday afternoon. The existing charter was penned by the military government and voted on in a 2017 referendum. It was widely seen as a document which cemented much of the NCPO’s power and to maintain a quasi democracy in Thailand for the next years. The reform of the Thai charter is one of the key demands of pro-democracy activists.

A mass protest over the weekend attracted around 30,000 supporters and passed off peacefully. However, the protest leaders now face charges of violating the country’s strict lèse majesté law, which prohibits criticism of the Thai monarch or royal family. Several are also expected to be charged for installing a commemorative plaque at an historical site (Sanam Luang) without permission. The plaque carried a declaration that Thailand, “belongs to the people”, but was removed the same night after it was installed, although no one has yet claimed responsibility for the removal.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Protests

Protest leaders face charges for violating Thailand’s lèse majesté law and for installing the plaque

Caitlin Ashworth

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Protest leaders face charges for violating Thailand’s lèse majesté law and for installing the plaque | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Leaders of the weekend’s pro-democracy protest in Bangkok are facing charges for violating Thailand’s lèse majesté laws and installing a symbolic plaque at a “registered historical site”. Police filed complaints against 10 to possibly more than 16 protesters.

It’s unclear how many protesters will be charged, but the Royal Thai Police spokesperson Piya Uthayo says charges will be pressed against those who “pulled the strings.” He says the Chanasongkhram Police have received several lèse majesté complaints. Under the lèse majesté law, it is illegal to insult or defame the Thai Monarch or royal family. Piya says police will take the strongest legal actions possible against those who undermined the Monarchy.

A lèse majesté complaint was filed by a leader of the pro-government “multi-coloured shirts movement” Tul Sittisomwong who said the protesters had “once again crossed the line,” according to the Bangkok Post.

“I don’t mind if they talked about politics, the prime minister or the constitution because they have the right to do so, but not about the monarchy.”

The Bangkok Post reports that around 10 protesters will be charged with violating the Public Assembly Act and Criminal Code while 4 people will be charged with violating the lèse majesté law. Thai PBS estimates at least 16 people face charges for violating the lèse majesté law and installing the plaque.

Protesters installed a plaque on the forecourt of the royal parade grounds, aka. Sanam Luang, next to the Grand Palac. The pro-democracy plaque symbolically renamed the area Sanam Ratsadon, or “People’s Ground”. The plaque disappeared and the spot was covered with concrete less than 24 hours after being embedded by the protesters early on Sunday morning. Police say they removed the plaque because it would be used as evidence against protest leaders.

The Fine Arts Department and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration filed complaints with police over the installation of the plaque, saying the protesters broke the law by causing damage to an archaeological site. The department says the plaque installation violates the Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums Act, as Sanam Luang is a historical site protected by law. The removal of another historic plaque in 2017, commemorating the Siam Revolution in 1932, when Thailand’s absolute monarchy was overthrown by a constitutional monarchy, was not reported by the same organisations.

Authorities also claim rally leaders broke into Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus and entered the grounds of Sanam Luang without permission. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration also asked police to take action against protesters who destroyed barriers and fences at the university as well as the damage done when installing the plaque at Sanam Luang, according to Metropolitan Police Bureau deputy spokesperson (the concrete has already been replaced after being torn out of the cement sometime on the early hours of Monday morning).

“The protesters damaged BMA properties and violated the Act on the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country.”

SOURCES: Thai PBS | Bangkok Post

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