The National Anti Corruption Commission will Tuesday finalise its probe into the bloodshed caused by the police crackdown on October 7, 2008 before ruling on punishment on August 4
Key suspects involved in the case include former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, former deputy prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh.
Among the senior police officers under probe are national police chief General Patcharawat Wongsuwan and top officials in charge to the botched anti-riot operation, such as General Wiroj Phaholphaet and Lt General Suchart Muenkaew.
The NACC ruling will likely result in political ramifications.
At stakes are whether the NACC will recommend criminal proceedings against Somchai and Chavalit and whether Patcharawat will be found guilty of serious disciplinary offence leading to the mandatory dismissal.
Anti-Graft Panel to Wrap up Oct 7 Crackdown Probe in August
The National Anti-Corruption Commission meets to discuss the case of police’s crackdown on People’s Alliance for Democracy protesters on October 7 last year. Two more high-ranking police officers will be charged while another senior officer already under investigation will face additional charges.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission, or NACC, met to discuss last year’s October 7 police crackdown on the People’s Alliance for Democracy protesters at Parliament.
The meeting decided to press charges against two deputy metropolitan police chiefs and to seek more charges against a high-raking police officer already named in the case.
Sources said the officer in question is national police chief Police General Patcharawat Wongsuwan. Patcharawat was only charged with misconduct earlier on.
The three officers will be required to report to the NACC to give their testimonies by Monday before the panel concludes the case in the middle of August.
For this case, seven people have been named. They are then-prime minister Somchai Wongsawad, then-deputy prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, national police chief Police General Patcharawat Wongsuwan, deputy national police chief Police General Wiroj Paholvej, former metropolitan police chief Police Lieutenant General Suchart Muenkaew and two deputy metropolitan police chiefs, Police Major General Likit Klin-oual and Police Major General Ekkarat Meepreecha .
NACC to charge two more over Oct 7
Police will this week seek arrest warrants for at least three more suspects in the shooting of People’s Alliance for Democracy leader Sondhi Limthongkul, assistant police chief Pol Lt-Gen Assawin Kwanmuang said on Monday.
Pol Lt-Gen Assawin said there was firm evidence that the three suspects were part of the team of gunmen who attacked the van in which Mr Sondhi was travelling on April 17 at the Bang Khun Phrom intersection in Bangkok. He declined to reveal if they were civilians or men in uniform.
He said he had assured the prime minister that the case had not reached an impasse when he briefed him at Government House on Sunday. Whether the masterminds would ever be brought to justice depended on the evidence and witness testimony.
Pol Lt-Gen Assawin said police were closing in on two wanted suspects, Sgt-Maj Panya Srihera of the Special Warfare Centre in Lop Buri and Pol Cpl Worawut Mungsanti of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, who are on the run.
He said the confusion over a report that Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan could be removed as police chief would not affect the investigation.
He believed deputy police chief Pol Gen Thanee Somboonsap would be able to conclude the case before his retirement at the end of September.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said it was likely the investigation into the attempted murder of Mr Sondhi would be concluded this week.
He said report from assistant police chief Pol Lt-Gen Assawin Kwanmuang that arrest warrants would be sought for three more suspects was a sign of a development in the case.
The new suspects were said to be a police sub-lieutenant and two sergeant-majors attached to the Special Warfare Centre.
Mr Abhisit said he would consult Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban on the overall development of the case, obstacles and possible ways out.
The prime minister also said he and Mr Suthep would talk over whether or not to remove Pol Gen Patcharawat as police chief.
Bangkok Post, 28/07/2009
National police chief faces charges
Patcharawat like to face criminal proceedings; NACC pointing finger at three more
National Police chief General Patcharawat Wongsuwan will likely face a criminal charge in connection with last October’s bloody crackdown on anti-government protesters, a source said yesterday.
That would be in addition to the serious disciplinary charge recommended against him by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the source said.
The NACC resolved to charge three more people in connection with the October 7 incident, NACC member Wicha Mahakhun said.
The police crackdown on yellow-shirted protesters, who attempted to prevent then-prime minister Somchai Wongsawat from delivering his policy statement at Parliament, left two people dead and more than a hundred injured.
Wicha said the nine-member NACC agreed to charge two more people for their involvement in the crackdown and file additional charges of severe disciplinary violations and criminal offences against another person who was among those charged previously.
The three people would be notified in writing to formally acknowledge the charges against them by August 3, Wicha said, adding that he expects those people to be indicted by the end of next month.
The NACC agreed not to disclose the identities of those people. Wicha declined to say whether one of the newly charged was Patcharawat.
The police chief’s future remains unclear amid lingering speculation that he would be moved to the Prime Minister’s Office for allegedly obstructing police investigation into the attempted assassination of Sondhi Limthongkul, a core leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he had “not yet” discussed with Deputy Premier Suthep Thaugsuban about Patcharawat’s possible transfer and simply smiled when asked if Patcharawat would still “stick to his seat”.
Abhisit’s daily press conference at Government House was cancelled because he was too busy, government spokesman Panitan Watanayagorn said.
Suthep said the decision to remove Patcharawat would depend solely on the prime minister, who would be able to explain that decision.
The latest information did not indicate that Patcharawat had interfered in the probe, he said.
Suthep, the Democrat Party secretary-general, laughed when asked if he was “arm wrestling” with his party leader Abhisit about the matter.
“I don’t think he can beat me at arm wrestling. I’m bigger than he is,” he said.
No political implications were intended in his reply, he said. “You asked me just about arm wrestling, right?”
During yesterday’s regular Cabinet meeting, Abhisit left the room to meet Suthep and they were seen engaged in a serious discussion for more than an hour, a government source said.
Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu replaced Abhisit in chairing the rest of the meeting, the source said.
By The Nation
Published on July 29, 2009