Phuket Gazette Thailand News: Suthep rallies as DSI mulls next move; Abhisit faces 2010 charges; Trawler crew eyed for murder


Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

DSI mulls more action against PDRC
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will combine its investigation into People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) moves to stop voters from casting their ballot on February 2 with allegations of insurrection, for which PDRC leaders are already facing arrest.

DSI chief Tarit Pengdith, who is also secretary of the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), said PDRC protesters were still blocking government offices and their behaviour could be seen as a threat to government employees.

Considering additional charges

Hence, he said, the centre had invited permanent secretaries from all ministries to discuss this as well as the issuing of arrest warrants for PDRC leaders on four charges, namely unlawful entry, using coercion on others, property damage and disobeying CAPO’s orders.

Tarit said the DSI would combine the charges of allegedly violating the emergency decree and obstructing the February 2 general elections for all 58 anti-government protest leaders.

In a separate move, Suthep Thaugsuban, PDRC secretary-general, led protesters on a 5-kilometre march yesterday to call on people to join a mass rally on Saturday.

The protesters marched out of Lumpini Park at 9.30am and proceeded onto Rama IV Road, before turning left into Surawong, then on to Mahesak, then Silom before returning to Lumpini at 1.30pm.

Suthep was guarded by five rows of bodyguards as he marched through the commercial district, which was temporarily closed to traffic.

The PDRC leader said yesterday’s march was aimed at calling on people to join the rally on Saturday – the anti-government group’s first move to mobilise crowds after a month-long pause. He also promised that the safety of those joining the rally on Saturday would be ensured thanks to the 1,000 or so guards.

Suthep also insisted that the PDRC disagreed with plans to hold an election, saying reforms had to be put in place first.

Meanwhile, the Students and People’s Network for Thailand’s Reform (STR) also led a rally to the Royal Thai Police headquarters yesterday to demand that investigation into attacks against anti-government protesters be speeded up.

The march led by STR leaders Nitithorn Lamlua and Uthai Yodmanee kicked off at 10.20am at the Chamai Maruchet rally site.

STR spokesman Amorn Amornratananon said the group wanted to push police chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew into speeding up the investigation into violent attacks against demonstrators.

Abhisit faces court over people killed during 2010 crackdown
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Criminal Court yesterday warned that Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva could have committed an abuse of authority if he had failed to follow crowd control practices or issue orders without reasonable grounds in connection with the deadly military crackdown on red-shirt protesters in April-May 2010.
Abhisit faced court yesterday to deny murder and attempted murder charges filed against him. He was prime minister at the time of the crackdown.

His co-defendant is People’s Democratic Reform Committee chief Suthep Thaugsuban, the then-director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation.

The court said Abhisit could have committed an abuse of authority in accordance with the Criminal Code or offences under the Emergency Decree law if he issued wrongful or unreasonable orders after having imposed the state of emergency.

The Office of the Attorney General’s Special Cases Litigation Office accused Abhisit and Suthep of issuing orders to security officials to conduct crowd-control operations at red-shirt rallies that resulted in the deaths of taxi driver Pan Kamgong, 43, and Kunakorn Srisuwan, 14, near Ratchaprarob Airport Link station.

A van driver, Samorn Maithong, was seriously injured after being shot with bullets fired from the direction of security agencies stationed in the Ratchaprarob area.

Prosecutors filed the indictment against Abhisit on December 12. The court permitted Samorn and Nuchid Kamkong, Pan’s wife, to be co-plaintiffs with prosecutors on February 13.

The plaintiffs insist that people were killed and injured as a result of the crowd control operation ordered by Abhisit because security officials used real bullets.

They said the security officials were allowed to use arms when necessary, with Suthep approving the use of real bullets and sharp shooters during the operation.

Abhisit said the National Anti-Corruption Commission was still investigating a case with similar charges against him and had yet to resolve the case.

The court, thus, decided to wait till June 23 for the NACC’s investigation results to prevent repetition of witness examinations.

Chokchai Angkaew, a lawyer for the co-plaintiffs, said relatives of six people killed at Wat Pathum Wanaram during the May 19, 2010 riots had also filed suits against Abhisit and Suthep on the same charges with the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court.

The Department of Special Investigation has an arrest warrant for Suthep to prosecute him in this case but has yet to arrest him. The statue of limitation for this case is 20 years.

Pheu Thai seeks UN chief’s help against ‘anti-democratic’ forces
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The ruling Pheu Thai Party has written to the United Nations chief, asking him to condemn an “undemocratic conspiracy” by conservative and anti-democratic forces in Thai society.

In its letter, Pheu Thai told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the failure by “the conservatives and their anti-democracy conspirators” to respect the will of the people expressed during a free and fair election was the root cause of Thailand’s ongoing political conflict.

“We appeal to you to monitor the situations in Thailand closely to prevent and condemn the undemocratic conspiracy and to support free and fair election[s] so that [the] process of democratisation in Thailand continues and 65 million Thais can determine the course of their future to ensure that Thailand remains a strong member of the UN and global community,” it said.

Pheu Thai accused those involved in the alleged conspiracy of having destroyed democracy and the rule of law. “By this letter, we, members of Pheu Thai Party, wish to keep you informed of the alarming political development in Thailand and the violations of laws and infringement of human rights by the privileged conspirators and privileged anti-government protesters.”.

The letter, in which the party’s name is misspelled as “Phue Thai”, also accused the Constitutional Court and the independent agencies of siding with Pheu Thai’s enemies in a bid to “get rid of our side” and the government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

Pheu Thai claimed it has had to endure “countless instances of double standard and injustice”. It also said, “Will the so-called ‘judicial coup’ be brought back Never before has the provision of the Constitution been so unlawfully and without legal basis applied in cases against

— Phuket Gazette Editors

Thailand News

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