Karun-Tankhun confrontation (video)

A video clip of former Pheu Thai MP Karun Hosakul exchanging heated words with his former election rival Tankhun Jitt-itsara of the opposition Democrat Party has gone viral.

  • Published: 12/05/2013 at 09:58 AM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

Karun Hosakul, left, and Tankhun Jitt-itsara (File Photos)

The video, which lasts more than four minutes, was uploaded by YouTube user "spiceday" on Saturday.

According to the YouTube user, the incident took place on Saturday afternoon at a classroom in Boriboon Sin Suksa School in Don Muang district, Bangkok. 

While Mr Karun, the former Pheu Thai MP representing Don Muang, was discussing the government's small, medium and large (SML) community loan project with community members, he was told by his supporters that Mr Tankhun was also attending the event and was recording Mr Karun's speech with his phone.

Mr Karun along with his supporters then approached Mr Tankhun, who was standing at the back of the classroom. Mr Karun told his political rival that he was infringing his rights by taking photos of him. 

Mr Tankhun argued that he was only recording the general atmosphere of the meeting and that he was invited to the event by a school teacher.

The situation heated up when the Democrat member repeatedly said, "Please don't hurt me. Don't use force."

A woman who was in the crowd shouted back at Mr Tankhun, "Who hurt you? Stop lying."

As Mr Tankhun left the room and went outside, the Pheu Thai member and several people followed him and berated him.

"I'm going to leave now, never mind," Mr Tankhun told the crowd as he appeared to record the situation with his phone again.

Mr Tankhun said he did not say anything and was just standing there during the meeting.

The crowd then told him that he was lying about people trying to hurt him and that he was trying to stir up the situation.

A woman later escorted him away from the angry crowd.

On Sunday, Mr Tankhun held a press briefing to discuss the incident.

He said a teacher invited him to talk about the SML project.

"I gave a speech on the SML project and left the meeting later," Mr Tankhun said. 

"A person at the meeting then called me to tell me that Prawase Wallopbanharn, former member of the Bangkok Metropolitan Council, told the crowd that my team and I were giving out booze to people during the Songkran holiday."

He said he and his team were actually giving perfume water to people to use during Songkran.

Mr Tankhun said he came back to the classroom to observe the meeting. When Mr Karun saw him, he told him that he had no right to be in the meeting and that he must leave because he had no part in the SML project.

He said he had the right to observe the meeting since the SML project involves the taxpayers' money.

"It's not true that I was trying to create disorder at the meeting and I did not make any references to Mr Karun [during my speech].

"They wanted me out of the meeting so they could accuse me without giving me the opportunity to defend my case. This is not fair," the Democrat member said.

He said he was concerned for his safety during the upcoming Don Muang by-election if Mr Karun "continues to threaten the opposition in this manner".

On Friday, the Supreme Court's Election Cases Division found Mr Karun guilty of defamation and banned him from politics for five years.

The court ruled that Mr Karun defamed Mr Tankhun during the general election campaign of 2011. A by-election will be called in the next 45 days to replace the Pheu Thai ex-MP.

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