Chakthip denies army meddling in anti-regime run

Chakthip denies army meddling in anti-regime run

Runners participate in the anti-government run organised at Suan Rot Fai in Chatuchak district on Jan 12, 2020. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Runners participate in the anti-government run organised at Suan Rot Fai in Chatuchak district on Jan 12, 2020. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda has denied allegations that the police applied a different standard in securing the anti-regime Wing Lai Lung ("Run to Oust the Uncle") event in Bangkok last month due to intervention from the military.

"Soldiers did not meddle with my work," insisted Pol Gen Chakthip on Wednesday, as he clarified the issue before the House committee on law, justice and human rights, chaired by Future Forward Party secretary-general and MP Piyabutr Saengkanokkul.

The national police chief, along with his deputy Pol Gen Suwat Chaengyodsuk, was summoned by the panel after doubts emerged over the police's role in overseeing the activity at Suan Rot Fai (Vachirabenjatas Park) on Jan 12, which was also attended by FFP leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

FFP MPs on the committee suspected police officers did not follow security protocols which are usually applied to outdoor sporting events, including running.

Committee spokesman and FFP MP Rangsiman Rome said the national police chief seemed to “approach rallies differently”, likening the police's approach to the authorities' response to a recent gathering of protesting rubber farmers.

Pol Gen Chakthip insisted that he gave one order to all of his subordinates at the event, as well as to those assigned to secure the at the pro-regime Dern Cheer Lung ("Walk in Support of Uncle") which was held on the same day in Lumpini Park. The "Uncle" in both events' names, refer to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

“I must remain neutral because if I’m biased, I’ll face a complaint under Section 157,” Pol Gen Chakthip said, referring to an article on dereliction of duty in the Criminal Code.

“I also monitored the other gathering that day. What I wanted was for nobody to violate any law.”

That said, Pol Gen Suwat admitted that several officers "may talk differently" to certain people in the rally, given the nature of the event.

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