Ex-legislator summoned over violent temple invasion in Phichit

Image taken from Thai Post

A high-profile individual has been summoned by the police for allegedly hiring assailants who stormed a temple in the Phichit province, Thailand. The incident left several people, including monks and temple workers, injured.

The summons followed the end of the individual’s parliamentary term, which previously granted immunity from prosecution. Despite being given two chances to appear, the absence of the accused may lead to an arrest warrant.

On April 6, a group of nearly 20 men dressed in black reportedly seized the Hiranyaram Temple, also known as Wat Bang Klaan, in the Bang Klaan Subdistrict of Pho Thale District, Phichit Province. The attackers allegedly assaulted monks, workers, and laymen residing in the temple’s living quarters, resulting in injuries to the abbot and several villagers.

The incident prompted Police General Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn to order the arrest of over 20 men involved in the assault.

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Progress on the case was reported on May 13, by Deputy Superintendent Prapas Inthap of the Pho Thale Police Station. According to Prapas, of the 23 suspects involved in the case, including three hirers, 21 had been prosecuted, leaving two hirers remaining: Kittisak Rattanawaraha a former member of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), and Yuthisit Khamsila, a local village headman from Bueng Narang District, Phichit Province.

At the time of the incident, police were unable to prosecute Kittisak due to his active legal immunity.

Above the law

With Kittisak’s term ending on May 10, the police issued a summons for him and Yuthisit, the accused hirers of the black-clad men, to appear before them. On the appointed date, only Yuthisit complied with the request, citing that Kittisak was occupied with business in Bangkok and requested a postponement.

Prapas warned that if Kittisak failed to honour the subsequent summons, a warrant for his arrest would be issued following legal procedures.

Reporters from Phichit province have indicated that Kittisak Rattanawarah is expected to appear before the Phichit Provincial Court concerning the temple invasion on May 23, reported Khaosod.

This case dates back several years to when Kittisak was still a member of the NLA before becoming a senator.

This incident has drawn significant attention due to the involvement of a public figure and the violent nature of the crime against a religious establishment, which is highly regarded in Thai society.

The legal proceedings are being closely watched as they develop, reflecting the broader issues of impunity and the legal protections afforded to politicians in Thailand.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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