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Chalerm retreats from angry mobs in Phuket and Krabi

Legacy Phuket Gazette



KRABI (The Nation): Ongoing protests by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) took Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung by surprise in Phuket and Krabi, forcing him to cancel official duties on Tuesday and again yesterday.

Chalerm was supposed to meet Phuket’s governor on Tuesday, along with high-ranking police and local government officials. Heeding warnings of the mob at Phuket airport, said to have numbered about 1,000 people, he ordered his flight to land at Krabi instead. But protesters awaited him there, too, so he escaped through a rear exit.

He checked in to the Krabi Maritime Park and Spa Resort, owned by Democrat MP Pichet Panwichatkul, where he faced heckling over loudspeakers from a contingent of about 200 local residents.

Krabi Governor Siva Sirisaowalak arrived in the morning and told the group that Chalerm had left for Bangkok, reportedly at around 3 am.

Krabi PAD member Abisit Techwarodom says Chalerm lied when he accused the demonstrators of being drunk and that they had been hired from other provinces.

Chalerm told television news that politicians were behind the protests and that he had canceled the visit not from fear, but simply because he did not want a confrontation. “I don’t understand why they wanted me out when I went there to help them,” he said.

People Power Party party-list MP Chatuporn Prompan said the 14 southern provinces may discover they have funding problems if other government ministers face similar treatment.

Chatuporn said forest trespassers will benefit because that was one of Chalerm’s missions following the no-confidence debate.

Chatuporn questioned the governor’s booking of a hotel owned by an opposition member, and why the protesters were allowed to gather outside it.

Panya Daenmatam, secretary-general of the Phuket PAD, denied accusations politicians were behind the protest.


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