Eye-witnesses said Chamlong was arrested and detained at a voting booth for today’s elections for Bangkok governor. Chamlong had gone there to cast his own vote. He was arrested at 8 am when the polling station opened.
His arrest comes after the first of the nine PAD core members, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, was captured on treason charges on Friday.
It was not clear if Chamlong, who is very close to Chaiwat, “intended” to be arrested, as is thought possible by some PAD observers.
The witnesses said Chamlong told the police who were approaching him: “Let me cast my vote first”.
He was allowed to do so.
Chaiwat’s arrest was described as a blow to the peace overture by the Somchai Wongsawat government, and Chamlong’s capture is believed to have far greater repercussions. Widely popular, he is the most important PAD leader, along side media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul.
Pol Gen Suparp Muenkaew confirmed to NBT TV that he went to arrest Chamlong himself.
The former government of Samak Sundaravej charged Chamlong, Chaiwat and the seven other PAD core members with treason after they led the seizure of Government House. The PAD has been protesting inside Government House for several weeks, with the key leaders being careful not to leave the compound.
Channel 7 reported that other PAD leaders at Government House were informed of Chamlong’s arrest immediately and were preparing to make moves in retaliation.
NBT reported that Chamlong wrote a letter to his supporters at 6:30 am and the letter was read at the rally site at Government House at 9 am.
The letter says:
“We all gather here to repay the gratitude of our motherland. We come here to do good for the country and repay our debt to the country. This is the duty of all Thais. Before we die, we must repay the debt to our motherland. No matter what will happen, let all remember that it’s the duty of Thais to serve the nation, the religion and the King. I, Chamlong Srimuang, would like to remind all Thais that we were all born with a duty. No matter how tall we are, no matter how our complexion is, how poor or rich we are, we have the duty to repay the debt to the motherland. [Signed] Chamlong Srimuang, 6 am.”
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