Thaksin sues TV duo over talk of Kotee link

Thaksin sues TV duo over talk of Kotee link

Nine suspects allegedly connected to seized weapons and fugitive red-shirt member Wuthipong Kochathamakun, alias Kotee, appear at a media briefing at the Crime Suppression Division on Friday. (Photo and video by Apichit Jinakul)
Nine suspects allegedly connected to seized weapons and fugitive red-shirt member Wuthipong Kochathamakun, alias Kotee, appear at a media briefing at the Crime Suppression Division on Friday. (Photo and video by Apichit Jinakul)

Thaksin Shinawatra is suing a TV programme after it suggested there was a link between the former prime minister and fugitive red-shirt member Wuthipong Kochathamakun.

Mr Wuthipong, alias Kotee, is wanted by authorities for lese majeste among other offences. He and others face several new charges, including possessing weapons of war and violating the Firearms Act, after a cache of weapons was seized last Saturday in seven provinces, including the former radio host's base in Pathum Thani.

The fugitive, hard-core red-shirt figure is in Laos, while nine others have been arrested. The army handed them over to the police Crime Suppression Division on Friday.

Thaksin took the case to the Technology Crime Suppression Division (CSD) through his lawyer Chumsai Sriyapai on Friday, asking the police to take action against Sonthiyan Chuenruthainaitam, who is a director of TNews, and Yukol Wisetsang for defaming him and violating the Computer Crime Act.

The comments in question were made on the Bright TV programme Yukol Asks, Sonthiyan Answers Direct to the Point. Mr Sonthiyan said there was an indirect connection between Mr Wuthipong and the former prime minister.

"It looks likely that Thaksin may be involved with those people," he told the programme host in a broadcast aired on Thursday.

The political commentator alleged that Mr Wuthipong was close to former Pheu Thai Party leader Jarupong Ruangsuwan. Mr Jarupong was close to Thaksin, he added.

"When we talk about the network of the red shirts, we are talking about the network of Thaksin," he said, adding that all were connected to the fugitive former prime minister.

Mr Chumsai said the allegations were groundless and warned that his client would sue other people if they made similar remarks.

At the CSD, the National Council for Peace and Order handed nine suspects and all weapons and other items seized from the raids to the police.

The case, however, will be handled by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) as it said the arms could be connected with the red-shirt street rallies in 2010, which it continues to handle.

Authorities have claimed that the weapons were to be used to assassinate Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

Theerachai Uttarawichien, one of the nine suspects, told a media briefing at the CSD that he believed there was a link between the seized weapons and Mr Jarupong.


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