MP Vipot a fugitive after court upholds prison sentence

MP Vipot a fugitive after court upholds prison sentence

Arrest warrant issued for former red-shirt protest leader

An arrest warrant is out for Vipot Aponrat, a Palang Pracharath Party MP for Kamphaeng Phet, after he failed to appear for the reading of the Supreme Court's rejection of his appeal against a prison sentence for helping organise the violent incursion that shut  down the Asean summit in 2009. (Photo from Vipot Aponrat Facebook account)
An arrest warrant is out for Vipot Aponrat, a Palang Pracharath Party MP for Kamphaeng Phet, after he failed to appear for the reading of the Supreme Court's rejection of his appeal against a prison sentence for helping organise the violent incursion that shut down the Asean summit in 2009. (Photo from Vipot Aponrat Facebook account)

An arrest warrant was issued by the Supreme Court on Wednesday for Vipot Aponrat after it rejected the Palang Pracharath Party MP's final appeal against a four-year prison sentence for his role in the violent protest that closed down an Asean summit in Pattaya a decade ago.

Former Pol Lt Col Vipot did not show up at the Pattaya Provincial Court on Wednesday for the reading of the judgement, which immediately sent him to jail for four years and confirmed a fine of 200 baht for the incursion by red-shirt protesters at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel in Pattaya in 2009.

Only his lawyer was present to hear the court issue a bench warrant for  the Kamphaeng Phet MP's arrest shortly after the sentence was read out.

The ruling had been deferred from Dec 3, when he first failed to appear at the court. An arrest warrant was also issued at the time, ordering him to be present at the court on Jan 15.

The former police officer, who was a red-shirt leader, was among 18 defendants sued by prosecutors for leading the raid on the Asean summit in the resort city. Three were acquitted of the charges and three others are still at large.

Vipot seemed to know his fate when he said during a PPRP meeting on Dec 3 that the lead-party in the government coalition should support his son, Phetchphum, for a seat in parliament if his sentence was upheld.

Even so, he attended a parliamentary session on Dec 4, one day after the first arrest warrant was issued. This prompted House Speaker Chuan Leekpai to order an investigation into Vipot's presence in the  chamber.


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