6 June 2024

Metropolitan police deputy commissioner Pol Maj-Gen Piya Tavichai has vowed to “prosecute to the fullest extent of the law” the three suspects responsible for torching His Majesty the King’s portrait located at the front of Khlong Prem prison early Sunday morning.

Describing the incident as serious and having hurt the feelings of the Thai people, Pol Maj-Gen Piya said that Prachachuen police, who are handling the case, have already sought arrest warrants from the Criminal Court for the suspects, two men and one woman. According to the Criminal Court, one of those facing arrest is Chai-amorn Kaeweiboonphan, alias “Ammie”, a singer and a well-known figure among the Ratsadon protesters.

Informed police sources allege that Ammie was the person who got off a white MPV and torched the portrait, while the two other suspects remained in the car.

Armed with an arrest warrant, issued this late afternoon, a police team is currently seeking to apprehend the singer.

The three suspects will face charges, ranging from lèse majesté and arson causing damage to state property to Computer Crimes Act.

Pol Maj-Gen Piya maintained that police have sufficient evidence to take legal action against the three, whom he alleges have connections to the anti-establishment protest groups.

He said that police will summon the owner of the white MPV, allegedly used by the three while committing the alleged offences, for a second round of questioning, adding that he believes there are more people involved in this brazenly criminal act.

Regarding the police use of rubber bullets and water cannons against the REDEM protesters on Sunday night, Pol Maj-Gen Piya insisted that police had strictly followed international protocol of crowd control measures and blamed the protesters for provoking the violence.

He said that more than 50 protesters were involved in the violence and police are in the process of gathering evidence to determine which of them should be summoned for questioning.

He also noted that the Sunday night’s protest was leaderless and, therefore, the crowd was uncontrolled and unrestrained.