Thai police file fresh charges on hospitalised protest leaders


Thai police on Sunday rearrested two protest leaders while they seek an arrest warrant for a third, over their roles in recent street protests. All three have been recuperating at a Bangkok hospital after chaotic scenes that erupted when they were released from prison.

Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul and Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, are being treated at Praram 9 Hospital following their release on bail and immediate re-arrest on fresh charges on Friday night. An ensuing scuffle led to all three being taken to the hospital where doctors said they would need a couple of days to recover.

The trio are among the best known faces of Thailand’s pro-democracy movement.

Officers from Rayong showed up at Praram 9 Hospital to file a charge against Panupong over his protest against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during the premier’s visit to the province in August ahead of the mobile cabinet meeting there.

Similar scenes occurred when Ubon Ratchathani police also showed up to detain Parit over his role in an Aug 22 demonstration in the northeastern province.

On Saturday night, city police had filed charges against Panusaya over her involvement on June 05 and June 22 in protests at the Pathumwan Skywalk in Bangkok.

Ms. Panusaya was placed under a 24-hour watch and police will reportedly seek a Pathumwan District Court order today to put her back behind bars for the time being.

Kritsadang Nutcharat, the lawyer representing the three, said the arrest warrant against Mr. Parit was not valid because he already previously turned himself in to police at the Border Patrol Police Region 1 headquarters.

It was reported that police will today ask the court to approve detention of Mr. Panupong and Mr. Parit in their absence.

Mr. Parit and Ms. Panusaya were taken to Praram 9 Hospital at 4.45am on Saturday after being questioned by Ayutthaya police at Pracha Chuen station in Bangkok. Mr. Panupong, who had been released at the same time, was brought to the hospital earlier after fainting while in custody.

Although the three were technically released on Friday night, a prisoner transport vehicle from the Pracha Chuen station was already waiting outside to rearrest them in connection with other cases.

Police Colonel Itthichet Wonghomhuan, the Prachachuen superintendent, said his officers had the authority to re-arrest the protest leaders on Friday and none had been treated roughly in the process.

He said the trio were not handcuffed or restrained because they were not detained as suspects, but were instead being legally held while police in other regions secured the authority necessary to detain them on separate charges.

Mr. Parit, Mr Panupong and Ms. Panusaya face charges being handled by police in Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya and UbonRatchathani, he added.

Pol Col Itthichet said police were also gathering evidence against a group of protesters who damaged the vehicle transporting Mr. Parit and Mr. Panupong to the station. They face charges of damaging property and assaulting state officials. (Source: Bangkok Post)