13 yellow shirts face bankruptcy over airport siege

13 yellow shirts face bankruptcy over airport siege

Yellow-shirt protesters throng Suvarnabumi airport in 2008. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Yellow-shirt protesters throng Suvarnabumi airport in 2008. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Thirteen core yellow-shirt members could be forced into bankruptcy now that legal execution officials have begun to seek payments from them for damages totalling 522 million baht incurred by the 10-day closure of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports 10 years ago.

Suwat Apaiwong, a lawyer for the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), said on Saturday that the 13 co-leaders had received a legal execution notice sent by prosecutors, who were authorised by Airports of Thailand Plc, the operator of the two gateways, to seek the payments.

“Since the defendants can’t afford to pay, there’s nothing they can do. It’s now up to the plaintiffs to check their assets, a process taking up to 10 years, to enforce the payments. If they find the defendants don’t have enough assets before then, they may force them into bankruptcy with the Central Bankruptcy Court," he said.

“In the meantime, all the defendants can do is to file complaints if the legal execution is carried out illegitimately."

The 13 defendants are Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, Sondhi Limthongkul, Pipop Thongchai, Suriyasai Katasila, Somsak Kosaiyasuk, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, Amorn Amonrattananon, Saranyu Wongkrajang, Samran Rodpetch, Sirichai Mai-ngam, Maleerat Kaewka and Therdphum Jaidee.

The PAD laid siege to Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports from Nov 24 to Dec 3, 2008 in a bid to force out the Somchai Wongsawat government. The occupation forced the airports to shut their operations and AoT filed a civil suit against them seeking the damages.

In 2011, the Civil Court ordered them to pay 522 million baht with annual interest rate of 7.5%, or around 40.2 million baht each. Four years later, the Appeal Court upheld the lower court's ruling. But the defendants, permitted by law to appeal the ruling within 30 days, failed to proceed with it in that time frame. 

The Supreme Court in September last year rejected their petition to extend the appeal window, bringing the case to a close.

They also face a criminal lawsuit for the incident in which 98 PAD members were charged. The trial is in the process of plaintiff witness hearing. 

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