Prayut chides bodyguard for blocking VIP

Prayut chides bodyguard for blocking VIP

Somchai Phornchindarak, president of the Thai Gems and Jewellery Traders Association, guides PM Prayut around the 56th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair at Impact Muang Thong Thani. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)
Somchai Phornchindarak, president of the Thai Gems and Jewellery Traders Association, guides PM Prayut around the 56th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair at Impact Muang Thong Thani. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha rebuked one of his security guards at a jewellery fair on Thursday after the man tried to physically restrain an organiser from walking alongside the premier.

The incident occurred at the 56th Bangkok Gems and Jewelry Fair at Impact Muang Thong Thani when Somchai Phornchindarak, president of the Thai Gems and Jewellery Traders Association, was leading Gen Prayut and Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn on a tour of the displays and booths. 

Local media reported that a body guard tried to block Mr Somchai from getting close to Gen Prayut, apparently not knowing who he was and what he was doing there. 

Mr Somchai resisted and tried to explain to the bodyguard that he needed to be close to Gen Prayut while they were walking so he could brief him. 

His patience wore thin when the guard pulled his shoulder back.

“Can’t you have a little respect?" Mr Somchai snapped loudly. "I am the person who organised this event.”

He then turned to Gen Prayut and said: “Your bodyguard is being very rigid. Not giving respect at all”.

Gen Prayut reportedly slapped the guard’s hand in a light-hearted way and said, “Give him some respect”. The former army chief then rebuked Col Worayut Kaewwiboon, commander of the 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard, who headed the security team.  

A source close to the team said the organisers had not sent a photo of Mr Somchai nor information about him to Col Worayut, so the guards did not know who he was.  

After Gen Prayut returned to Government House, Col Worayut called a meeting of the guards and gave them a stern lecture, during which he warned them to exercise more caution in separating VIPs from suspicious or unauthorised people.

The prime minister's security detail has recently tightened protection around him after a student tried to get close to Gen Prayut while he was on stage at an event in a Bangkok hotel to mark National Anti-Corruption Day.

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