11 July 2024

Palang Pracharat party deputy spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonchana has apologised to the public over the conduct of one of the party’s MPs, who has been heavily criticized on social media for allegedly attempting to intimidate and reprimand a senior police officer in Phuket province for failing to provide him with a police escort.

Defending Bangkok MP Sira Jenjakha, Thanathorn said today (Monday) that Mr. Sira is a hard-working man who is devoted to working for the people, but he might be a bit hot-tempered, leading to the misunderstanding in Phuket.

He assured the public that the issue is settled after Mr. Sira and the police officer reached a mutual understanding.

Mr. Sira had a heated argument with deputy superintendent of Karon district police over the latter’s failure to provide a police escort for the MP and his colleagues. They were on a field inspection trip in Phuket to investigate a land encroachment case, allegedly by a real estate developer, in Tambon Karon to build a condominium.

A video clip of the incident, which shows Mr. Sira being bossy to the police officer, went viral on social media, prompting widespread criticism of the MP.

Mr. Sira was quoted to have said to the officer “When we travel to other places, there are policemen to escort us, to treat us with honor because we come to work, not for sightseeing. Tomorrow, we will leave the hotel at 11 am. You should know what to do.  I will give you another chance.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, in his capacity as the Palang Pracharat party’s strategic chief, said that the incident was a personal matter for Mr. Sira and it had nothing to do with the party.

Defending himself, Mr. Sira denied that he had shouted at the officer, saying he normally speaks in a loud voice. He also claimed that he had received a death threat before his arrival in Phuket.

The MP said he came across a group of six policemen drinking coffee with the estate developer at a cafeteria at Laem Promthep and asked them why they didn’t go to the venue of a public hearing about the land encroachment problem to provide protection for the participants.

He added that the land encroachment case warranted classification as a special case to be handled by the Department of Special Investigation.