Senior official removed after shot fired

CHIANG MAI ― The Mae Chaem district office chief was transferred to an inactive post at Chiang Mai provincial hall on Wednesday after he was accused of firing a shot into the air during a protest rally by corn farmers.

  • Published: 16/10/2013 at 05:24 PM
  • Newspaper section: news

About 700 corn growers gathered in front of Mae Chaem district office on Tuesday to pressure provincial authorities to speed up promised assistance. 

The farmers complained the cabinet resolved to guarantee the price of maize with 30% moisture at 7 baht per kilogramme on Oct 1, but they had yet to see any action. No one had come to buy their crop at the guaranteed price, they said.

Mae Cham district chief Somjate Pluangnuj was accused of grabbing a microphone from a speaker during the Tuesday rally and firing a shot into the air, in what protesters viewed as a threat. The farmers became very angry and the rally became heated and almost escalated into a riot, reports said.  

The protest contInued into Wednesday, with the farmers demanding Mr Somjate's immediate removal from office.

Uthai Boonthiam, chairman of the network of maize farmers of Mae Chaem district, filed a complaint with Mae Chaem police station accusing the district office chief of threatening him and other farmers.

Mr Somjate lodged a counter complaint, accusing Mr Uthai of leading other protesters to smash open a glass door at Mae Chaem district office.

Chiang Mai provincial secretary Surapol Sattayarak was sent out to talk to the corn farmers after Mr Somjate was ordered to leave the area to prevent an escalation of the protest. 

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Writer: Cheewin Sattha
Position: Writer

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