Former Democrat deputy leader surrenders to Thai police to face sexual assault charges

In what is regarded as Thailand’s most significant #metoo case to date, former Democrat party deputy leader Prinn Panitchpakdi surrendered at Lumpini police station this morning (Saturday), to acknowledge charges of sexual assault filed against him by multiple women.

Prinn is the only son of former deputy prime minister and former director-general of the World Trade Organization, Dr. Supachai Panitchpakdi.

Prinn was accompanied by a lawyer when he arrived at about 8am. He managed to dodge a small army of reporters by using the rear entrance.

Pol Maj-Gen Jirasan Kaewsang-ek, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, told the media this morning that they could not detain Prinn, because the suspect surrendered voluntarily and no arrest warrant has been issued to date.

After notifying the suspect of the charges and questioning him, he said that police will seek an arrest warrant tomorrow, from the Bangkok South Criminal Court.

Pol Maj-Gen Trairong Piewpan, another deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said today that police have filed three sexual assault charges, including rape, but that Prinn had denied all the accusations.

Democrat party leader Jurin Laksanawisit announced today that the party will not protect anyone charged with committing sexual offences and will not interfere with the justice system. He declined to comment about whether the case against Prinn will tarnish the party’s reputation in the lead up to the Bangkok gubernatorial election.

A member of the Democrat party’s executive board, Rachada Dhnadirek, also deputy government spokesperson, offered an assurance yesterday that the party is against all forms of violence against women.

She also said that the party is fully aware of the feelings of the victims and Thai society in general.

Prinn spent many of his formative years in the UK, where he owned a restaurant and studied at the London School of Economics (LSE).

He built a political career in Thailand, especially with the Democrat party, during which he sat on a party-led panel campaigning against violence against women in 2019

When asked by a reporter about the case in Britain, Prinn said yesterday that it was over a long time ago.

Prinn used to hold several advisory and executive positions in both the government and private sectors, such as at the Stock Exchange of Thailand, the Office of National Innovations, the Federation of Thai Industries, the parliamentary committee to consider the impacts of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the parliamentary committee to consider amending the Commercial and Civil Code and the parliamentary committee on commerce and intellectual property rights.


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