Prinn released on bail

Prinn released on bail

Judge bars him from leaving the country

Former Democrat Party deputy leader Prinn Panitchpakdi arrives at the Bangkok South Criminal Court in a police van on Sunday to hear the court's decision on his bail request. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Former Democrat Party deputy leader Prinn Panitchpakdi arrives at the Bangkok South Criminal Court in a police van on Sunday to hear the court's decision on his bail request. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Former Democrat deputy leader Prinn Panitchpakdi was on Sunday released on bail after answering charges in two sexual harassment cases and one rape case brought against him.

Meanwhile, six more people are expected to lodge a similar sexual harassment or rape complaint against him today.

The politician is prohibited from leaving the country and meddling with witnesses and evidence as a condition of the bail granted to him by the Bangkok South Criminal Court. Bail was granted over police objections.

Because the suspect had lived abroad for some time, the police had asked that the court prohibit the suspect from leaving the country and meddling with witnesses and evidence if he really was to be released on bail, said Pol Maj Gen Trairong Piwpan, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB).

Hathairat Thanakitamnuay, 30, wife of Thanat "Luk Nut" Thanakitamnuay, a core anti-government figure, who filed a rape charge against Mr Prinn on April 14, over an alleged sexual assault at a condo in Soi Sukhumvit 3 in early 2021, also filed an objection to the suspect's bail request.

Ms Hathairat, a contender in Bangkok's council election, said she was worried the suspect would attempt to flee the country and abuse his power to silence victims.

Mr Prinn, who turned himself in to the police and denied any wrongdoing before an arrest warrant had been served against him, spoke briefly to reporters when he showed up at Lumpini police station yesterday morning. He begged all sides to believe in the judicial process.

He was responding to claims by lawyer Sittra Biebangkerd that he had offered millions of baht to certain victims in exchange for them abandoning their complaints.

Mr Sittra, who made the claim on Saturday, said he would take six more people who say they were either sexually harassed or raped by Mr Prinn to lodge a complaint with police at Lumpini station today.

This sex scandal came to light after an 18-year-old student lodged a complaint on April 12, accusing the former Democrat politician of sexually harassing her during a meeting on April 11 at a bar and restaurant of a hotel in Soi Sukhumvit 11, Watthana district.

They were supposed to discuss economic topics for her studies, but the politician focused instead on sexual topics before allegedly touching and kissing her on her hands and cheeks. Afterwards, four more women filed complaints against Mr Prinn.

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