Suthep leaves monkhood to start NGO

Suthep leaves monkhood to start NGO

Phra Suthep morphs yet again into political activist Suthep Thaugsuban of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) Foundation, as he walks away from the ceremony conducted to mark his departure from the monkhood at Surat Thani. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Phra Suthep morphs yet again into political activist Suthep Thaugsuban of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) Foundation, as he walks away from the ceremony conducted to mark his departure from the monkhood at Surat Thani. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

Political tension is expected to rise after Phra Suthep Papakaro left the monkhood Tuesday morning, with the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) keeping a close watch on his moves.

Suthep Thaugsuban, former secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), is expected to become the chairman of the PDRC Foundation. He plans to talk to the media about the foundation's activities in Bangkok Thursday.

After the news leaked that Mr Suthep would hold a press briefing, the NCPO warned the ex-Democrat MP, saying he should seek permission from the military council to ensure his actions comply with its bans on political activities.

NCPO deputy secretary-general Chatchalerm Chalermsuk said if Mr Suthep is unsure whether the press conference could be seen as a political act, he should speak to the NCPO before going ahead.

However, he said he doesn't know if Mr Suthep sought permission from the NCPO to hold the media conference.

"As a precaution, any activity that may be related to politics should be brought before the NCPO," said Gen Chatchalerm, who is also the army chief-of-staff. 

NCPO spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree said the NCPO expects Mr Suthep to work with the authorities. The NCPO has asked both individuals and groups to seek its permission before holding any activities that may be considered politics-related.

After leaving the monkhood, Mr Suthep and nine others lodged a petition with Provincial Police Region 8 Bureau to oppose the relocation of the police agency from Surat Thani's Pun Pin district to Phuket's Thalang district.

Describing the move as his first task, Mr Suthep said the relocation, which is planned for Aug 1, will affect 200 junior police officers and their family members.

It is reported the new site, located on a 185-rai plot, houses living quarters, a training centre, sports facilities and a clubhouse, but is 20km away from the town and schools. 

Mr Suthep left the monkhood in a ceremony chaired by Phra Dhamvimolmolee, chief of the 16th Monastic Region at Wat Traidhammaram in Muang district of Surat Thani province Tuesday.

Other former Democrat MPs who also left the monkhood included Mr Suthep's younger brother Chen Thaugsuban and Chinaworn Boonyakiat, a former education minister in the Abhisit government.

More than 100 people including PDRC leaders showed up at the temple. After the ceremony, Mr Suthep went to Suan Mokkhaphalaram in Chaiya district of Surat Thani to give alms to monks.


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