6 June 2024

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt has ordered an election candidate of the United Thai Nation (UTN) party to stop the laser beam campaign imaging on the Rama VIII Bridge, following many comments on social media about the suitability and legality of such campaign methods.

He also offered an apology over a misunderstanding that the city administration had allowed the use of the bridge for political campaigning.

Meanwhile, former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn has urged the Election Commission (EC) to stop the United Thai Nation (UTN) party, or any other party, from using the Rama VIII Bridge for the projection of campaign material, claiming that it is against the election law.

He claims that using lasers to project campaign material breaches the law, because the size of the poster is larger than the permissible limits, which are 2.45 metres long by 1.30 metres wide, and the Rama VIII Bridge is public property.

Somchai said that the bridge cannot be used for political campaigning and the organisation which allowed the party to use the bridge for that purpose could be considered to be biased.

If prior permission was granted, the individuals or organisation which used the bridge for campaigning could be charged with “intrusion” (trespass).

Governor Chadchart explained today (Tuesday) that the laser imaging was the idea of Tipanan Sirichana, a candidate of the UTN party. She had sought permission from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to use the Rama VIII park from May 8th to 12th for political activities and enclosed a picture of the laser beam poster with the wording “22 United Thai Nation” in her letter.

He admitted that he did not read Tipanan’s letter carefully, which has led to a misunderstanding that the BMA had granted permission for the use of the bridge’s tower for projection of the campaign image.

The governor said that the suspension bridge is under the jurisdiction of the Department of City Planning, which was not involved in the granting of permission for the use of the bridge.

He said that he is against the use of laser lights for campaigning, as it may distract drivers using the bridge, while insisting that his statements today are not intended to protect any party.

He also said that it is up to the EC to decide whether the campaign image was against the law.

The UNG party, meanwhile, distanced itself from the issue, claiming that it was Tipanan’s idea and that she had acted on her own, without discussing it with or obtaining permission from the party.

Upon learning of the matter, the party had issued a warning letter to Tipanan and ordered her not to do it again.

The party says it wishes to apologise for the matter and the inconvenience it may have caused.