Police put under pressure, release WeVo guard
published : 18 Jan 2021 at 10:34
writer: Sutthiwit Chayutworakan
SAMUT PRAKAN: A member of the We Volunteer (WeVo) protest guard who was arrested on a court warrant was released by Bang Kaew police on Sunday night after about 200 angry members of the group gathered outside the police station.
On Friday, Tossathep "Art" Duangnet, 24, was called in for questioning by Bang Kaew police and detained.
On Saturday, police finally obtained a warrant from the Samut Prakan Court to arrest him, for allegedly spray-painting the base of a portrait of His Majesty the King and other spots along King Kaew road in Bang Phli district.
He was initially charged with causing damage to public property.
Mr Tossathep is a member of WeVo, a group who take the role of guards on the frontline of the anti-government Ratsadon demonstrations.
About 6pm on Sunday, around 200 members of the WeVo group, led by Piyarat "Toto" Jongthep, gathered in front of Bang Kaew police station, demanding Mr Tossathep's release.
They said Mr Tossathep had been detained for over 50 hours, while police were empowered by law to hold a suspect for questioning for no more than 48 hours.
Mr Piyarat, the group leader, negotiated with Pol Maj Gen Chumpol Phumphuang, the Samut Prakan police chief, for Mr Tossathep's release. The talks were held amid a tense standoff between the members of WeVo and about 50 police guarding the station.
Mr Piyarat claimed Mr Tossathep's mobile phone had been taken away by police, preventing him from contacting a lawyer. He said Mr Tossathep should be allowed justice.
After about two hours of talks, police released Mr Tossathep without bail, on condition he could be summonsed to hear more charges and for further legal proceedings.