Chuvit faces defamation charges

Chuvit faces defamation charges

Former Special Branch police officer pursuing complaint against prominent whistleblower

Whistleblower Chuvit Kamolvisit, wearing boxing gloves, challenges a former high-ranking police officer to a fight in the ring in November last year. (Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham)
Whistleblower Chuvit Kamolvisit, wearing boxing gloves, challenges a former high-ranking police officer to a fight in the ring in November last year. (Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham)

Former politician Chuvit Kamolvisit is facing defamation and libel charges filed in connection with remarks he made last year about Pol Lt Col Santhana Prayoonrat, a former Special Branch deputy superintendent.

The charges stemmed from Mr Chuvit, 62, openly challenging the 64-year-old former police officer to a fist fight on Nov 9, 2022. The incident unfolded in front of police officers and the media and was broadcast nationally.

The outspoken former member of Parliament was heard making derogatory and threatening remarks towards Pol Lt Col Santhana, according to the suit filed on Friday.

Mr Chuvit’s verbal attack had a detrimental impact on the reputation of Pol Lt Col Santhana, who subsequently sought legal action for defamation, the suit contends.

However, when investigators failed to pursue legal proceedings against Mr Chuvit as scheduled after an initial arraignment in June this year, the Bangkok South District Court granted permission for the Fourth District Court Office to proceed with charging the well-known whistleblower. As a result, he is now set to face trial.

Mr Chuvit has been made aware of the charges against him and has invoked his right to seek protection of his rights. He has reportedly expressed his intention to compensate the victim.

A protection hearing is scheduled for Dec 21. Mr Chuvit, who has been undergoing treatment for cancer and has stepped back from his high-profile crusades, has been granted temporary release until then.

In a previous incident, Pol Lt Col Santhana filed a complaint with police alleging drug abuse at an entertainment venue in Mr Chuvit’s hotel. In response, Mr Chuvit, a former massage parlour tycoon, insisted that Pol Lt Col Santhana was targeting him because he had exposed illicit activities — and alleged police complicity — connected to a Chinese crime syndicate.

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