Mystery group seeks financial probe of student activists

Mystery group seeks financial probe of student activists

Members of a nationalist group submit a request to anti-crime police asking it to probe the source of financial support for the New Democracy Movement’s anti-government activities. (Photo by Wassayos Ngamkham)
Members of a nationalist group submit a request to anti-crime police asking it to probe the source of financial support for the New Democracy Movement’s anti-government activities. (Photo by Wassayos Ngamkham)

A nationalist group with unknown backers on Monday petitioned the Crime Suppression Division to investigate whether someone is providing financial support for student anti-coup activists rallying under the New Democracy Movement banner.

Chatchet Songsri, coordinator for the group calling itself Rao Rak Chart (We Love the Nation) was joined by six other members and university students in submitting a letter to Pol Lt Col Mongkol Promsopha, inquiry inspector for CSD Sub-division 1.

Mr Chatchet said the Rao Rak Chart network was founded to exchange political views in hopes of seeing peace in the country. He accused NDM leader Sirawith "Ja New" Seritiwat of stirring dissent through public protests and the media to serve his own agenda and questioned where the money for his activities was coming from.

Mr Sirawith and his group have been organising anti-junta activities that have landed them in police custody since late last year. Well-publicised events ranged from an attempted train trip to scandal-tainted Rajabhakti Park in Hua Hin to a Post-it Notes rally at the BTS Chong Nonsi skywalk on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Thammasat University political science student recently accepted an invitation from red-shirt activists to join their three-day sightseeing tour in Singapore May 27. He said he decided to go because the trip was held for leisure purposes only.

"Our request to investigate the New Democracy Movement is not intended to destroy the credibility of Ja New, but to bring clarification regarding (his funding) to the general public," Mr Chatchet said.

Mr Chatchet said Rao Rak Chart was comprised of current students and graduates of Ramkhamhaeng University interested in promoting democracy. The group believed an election will be held next year as the Prayut Chan-o-cha government has pledged to the international community.

Mr Chatchet said the group wanted CSD police to summon Mr Sirawith to clarify if someone was backing or providing financial support to his group.

"They claimed it's for the sake of democracy. But why they didn't mobilise when Ramkhamhaeng University students were hurt," Mr Chatchet said, referring to violent battles between students and armed red shirt supporters of the embattled Yingluck Shinawatra government in late 2013 near the university campus.

Pol Lt Col Mongkol said the petition will be forwarded to his superiors who will decide how to proceed.


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