More warrants sought in widening lese majeste case

More warrants sought in widening lese majeste case

Deputy national police chief Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul looks at the investigative report for lese majeste suspsect Suriyan “Mor Yong” Sucharitpolwong on Friday. Pol Gen Srivara said Wednesday more arrest warrants have been sought in the widening case. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
Deputy national police chief Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul looks at the investigative report for lese majeste suspsect Suriyan “Mor Yong” Sucharitpolwong on Friday. Pol Gen Srivara said Wednesday more arrest warrants have been sought in the widening case. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Police investigating a wide-ranging lese majeste case on Wednesday sought warrants for several police and military officers, deputy police chief Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul said.

Pol Gen Srivara, who leads the investigation, said requests were submitted this morning to the Bangkok Military Court and the Criminal Court to approve warrants for the arrest of Pol Col Pairote Rojkachorn, former chief of the 2nd sub-division of the Crime Suppression Division, Pol Lt Col Thammawat Hiranyalekha, former deputy chief of the CSD's 2nd sub-division, and several other police and military officers and civilians. He did not name the other suspects.

Wednesday afternoon, the military court also approved a warrant for Maj Gen Suchart Prommai, a close aide of Deputy Defence Minister Udomdej Sitabutr.

Pol Gen Srivara said they had committed lese majeste on different occasions in connection with one another. With solid evidence, the investigators believed the courts would approve the warrants requests.

Police had been sent to keep the suspects under watch.  They would arrest them once the courts approved the warrants, he said.

It was not yet known whether three other police officers -- an officer holding the rank of police general, an officer with the rank of police lieutenant general who was transferred to the Royal Thai Police's operations centre yesterday, and Pol Maj Gen Akradej Pimolsri, chief of the Crime Suppression Division -- would also be arrested for lese majeste charges, Pol Gen Srivara said.

It would depend on evidence being gathered by the investigators, he added.

Pol Gen Srivara also revealed that the Bangkok Military Court had approved a warrant for Jirawong Wattanathewasilp, a close aide of Suriyan "Mor Yong" Sucharitpolwong, who died in police custody, for another charge in addition to lese majeste. He did not elaborate.

He said there were now linked 17 lese majeste cases. One had been submitted to the prosecutors for indictment and five to the Legal Affairs Division for recommendations. The investigators were gathering evidence on seven cases. Four other cases were still under CSD investigation.

As for Col Khachachart Boondee, a former staff officer attached to the 3rd Army and another lese majeste suspect, his whereabouts remain unknown.

In a related development, Pol Gen Sihanart Prayoonrat, secretary-general of the Anti-Money Laundering Office, revealed that his office had seized about 30 million baht worth of assets from three lese majeste suspects -- Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapa, Suriyan and Mr Jirawong Wattanathewasilp. Both Prakrom and Suriyan are now dead.

He said the assets were seized after there was sufficient evidence to confirm they had been acquired by the suspects by citing the monarchy.


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