DPM Prawit expresses regret over brutal attack on Ja New

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has expressed regret over the brutal attack on political activist Sirawith Seritiwat, or Ja New, and ordered the national police chief, Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda, to hold an urgent meeting with the metropolitan police commissioner to discuss the incident and to intensify efforts to track down the perpetrators, as well as the mastermind behind the assault if there is one.

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich said today that security authorities have not been idle since the attack, as has been claimed. He maintained that both the military and the police do not tolerate or sanction the use of violence by their men or others, especially violence directed against those who share opposing political views.

He added that authorities have been instructed to provide security for political activists and to periodically report progress of the investigation into Ja New’s case to avoid political exploitation of the victim.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai MP Karoon Hosakul has offered a 50,000 baht reward for anyone who can provide information which leads to the arrest of Ja New’s assailants.

The anti-junta activist was attacked by four men in broad daylight on a busy road in Bangkok’s Khlong Sam Wa district on Thursday morning as he was walking to a bus stop. He suffered a broken nose, head injuries and optic nerve damage from being struck repeatedly on the head and face with, what are thought to be, blackjack batons.

Former Democrat MP Warong Dechgitvigrom has accused an unnamed political party leader of capitalizing on the attack to incite hatred. He pointed out that Ja New is a political activist who has friends as well as foes and the attack on him might stem from motives other than purely political ones.

He called on the party leader in question to stop his inappropriate behaviour.

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