Thai police keep an eye on vote-buying in competitive provinces

Pomprap Sattruphai district officials and police officers receive ballot papers at Phra Nakhon District Office last week before distributing them to polling stations in their district, photo by Apichart Jinakulvia via Bangkok Post.

Thai police are keeping a vigilant eye on incidents of vote-buying today, following allegations of election law malpractices in three intensely competitive provinces.

After a meeting with election officials, National Police Chief Police General Damrongsak Kittiprapas confirmed yesterday the arrest of a man in the northeast Bueng Kan province, under the suspicion of vote-buying. Evidence collected during the arrest included money and ID cards. Damrongsak instructed the provincial police chief to collaborate with election officials on the case.

Pol. Gen. Damrongsak informed that checkpoints are operating in areas where vote-buying is suspected, with rapid response teams ready to investigate complaints, Bangkok Post reported.

Pol Gen Damrongsak said the fiercest electoral battles are anticipated in the provinces of Samut Prakan, Nakhon Sawan, Chon Buri, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Ratchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

A police source said that the Bueng Kan incident took place on May 10 in Ban Thung Khla of t Wang Chom Phu sub-district in the Phon Charoen district. A man was apprehended, and his possessions included 22 notes worth 500 baht and a list of residents. The suspect confessed to giving the money to villagers listed in exchange for their support for a candidate in Constituency 3. The man was charged with vote-buying and temporarily released.

Constituency 3, a newly formed constituency, encompasses areas in three districts: Phon Charoen, So Phisai, and Pak Khat, with candidates from three major parties competing fiercely.

In addition, two more accusations emerged in Kanchanaburi and Nakhon Phanom provinces on Friday. In Kanchanaburi’s Muang district, a village head’s assistant was arrested after attempting to bribe election volunteers who arrived at her home to investigate claims of vote-buying.

The volunteers searched the premises and discovered money and a list of voters in her possession, after which they filed a complaint with the police. The suspect was also taken by authorities to provide a statement at the provincial election office.

In Nakhon Phanom, a registered election campaign assistant faced accusations from a rapid-response team investigating reports of vote-buying in Ban Nong Hai of tambon Ramrat in the Tha Uthen district.

Local officials discovered 195,000 baht in cash in 500 baht and 1,000 baht notes in the suspect’s bag and filed a complaint against him. However, the man denied any attempt at vote-buying, claiming the money was intended for stocking his grocery store.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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