Cops target 27 rally escapees

Cops target 27 rally escapees

Young protesters dressed in black tie white ribbons on the gates of the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road on Tuesday after three anti-government protest leaders were indicted and denied bail. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Young protesters dressed in black tie white ribbons on the gates of the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road on Tuesday after three anti-government protest leaders were indicted and denied bail. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) intends to summon 27 anti-government protesters who escaped after a police vehicle was forced open during Saturday night's protest in Bangkok.

Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, deputy MPB commissioner, said investigators were in the process of gathering evidence to ascertain whether the protesters had actually evaded police arrest.

The 27 protesters reportedly turned themselves in to Phahon Yothin police on Sunday and were questioned.

They were then allowed to return home as police sought to gather more evidence.

A crowd of protesters blocked a convoy of police vehicles containing protesters from the protest site in front of Major Cineplex Ratchayothin.

They managed to force open the lock on one police vehicle freeing 27 protesters. As well as these protesters, another who escaped the police's clutches was reported to be Piyarat "Toto" Chonthep, one of the leaders of the We Volunteer (WeVo) guard, part of the anti-government protest campaign.

Police investigators have now divided all these suspects into six groups according to their alleged misconduct, he said. Some might belong to more than one group.

The first group would face four charges, including gathering illegally and disturbing the peace, said Pol Maj Gen Piya.

Mr Piyarat and anti-government protesters and 17 other people are now categorised in that first group.

The second group contains the 27 suspects police are considering charging with escaping from police custody.

The third group is wanted by the police for damaging a police vehicle, hijacking suspects and stealing some valuables, he said, adding that investigators were still trying to confirm the identities of those responsible.

The fourth group includes those who damaged the wall of the Criminal Court and placed a banner over a portrait of His Majesty the King. They face charges of lese majeste and invading a state office at night.

The fifth group includes protesters who talked others into joining them at Saturday's rally, deemed by police to be a violation of the state of emergency and Disease Control Act.

The last group includes those involved in gun attacks on police vehicles who will likely face attempted murder charges.

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