IN BRIEF: Police say use of ‘Royal’ quotes on stickers constitutes lese-majesty

News

A police team investigating the recent distribution of stickers containing purported quotes by Their Majesties the King and Queen concluded yesterday that the act constituted lese-majesty, which is a criminal offence, a police spokesman said.

Police investigators gathered at the Metropolitan Police Bureau to discuss the case in a meeting that lasted over two hours and was chaired by Metropolitan Police commissioner Lt-General Pansiri Prapawat.

Maj-General Chatchawan Suksomjit, spokesman for the Metropolitan Police, said police would arrest anyone found to be involved with the production and distribution of the stickers.

He said the messages in the stickers misquoted remarks by Their Majesties and that they were produced without royal approval, which the investigators deemed as violating the Penal Code.

In the run-up to the February 6 general election, a number of the stickers were allegedly found at the Klong Toei office of the Democrat Party. Some Thai Rak Thai MPs accused certain senior Democrat figures of being behind the controversial stickers, an allegation rejected as groundless by the Democrats.

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‘Rape victim’ fails to show

A drug suspect at the centre of a gang-rape allegation against four prison wardens did not show up at the alleged crime scene yesterday to explain to police what had occurred, citing an expected large media presence, police said.

Investigators will once again invite the 23-year-old woman to the scene of the alleged crime at the Criminal Court, said Colonel Warawut Thaweechaikan, superintendent of the Phaholyothin police station.

He said that if the accuser

refused to visit the scene within six months, investigators might opt to drop the case, as it was an important part of the investigation.

Warawut said the woman and her husband had been questioned about the alleged rape and that the accuser had identified the suspects from their photos.

The woman said in her complaint that five prison wardens had sexually assaulted her in January while she was being detained in the remand cell of the Criminal Court building pending a review of her bail application.

Four of the alleged rapists were later arrested, while the fifth killed himself shortly after the woman’s complaint was filed.

No connection has been established between the alleged rape and the man’s shooting death.

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Fostering unity: Special day coming for all faiths

The government is currently deciding what the most suitable day would be to hold an annual special event for people of all religions as a means of promoting solidarity and unity in the country, Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh said yesterday.

Chavalit chaired a meeting attended by representatives of several different religions that discussed whether to organise the event on April 10, which marks the 100th day since the tsunami, or Songkran day, April 13, the Thai New Year.

Chavalit said Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra raised the idea of the ceremony as a means of creating solidarity in the country. Thaksin also believed that the planned religious-based annual ceremony would help promote moral principles among the public.

The government has yet to come up with a name for the event and will take 40 days to decide on specifics. – The Nation.

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Veteran politician: Chavalit to hang up his hat

Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh yesterday confirmed press reports that he was going to leave politics for good at the end of his current term.

He told reporters at Government House that he would also hold no political or advisory posts after calling it quits.

“I will end all my political roles. But I won’t abandon my responsibility for the country. I will follow political developments, criticise and give advice,” Chavalit, 72, said.

When asked why he would turn down an appointment as an adviser to the prime minister, Chavalit said Thaksin Shinawatra already has a lot of advisers and that he would prefer younger people did the job.

The ex-premier said he believed Thaksin understood his wishes and would not plead with him to serve in the next Cabinet. – The Nation.

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Supreme court: NCCC pay-rise lawsuit accepted

The Supreme Court yesterday accepted a lawsuit filed against the nine members of the National Counter Corruption Commission (NCCC) over their decision to give themselves a pay rise, a court official said yesterday.

The first hearing was scheduled for March 14, said Supat Suthimanas, secretary to the court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

Public prosecutors filed the petition yesterday, one day before the deadline given by a Supreme Court tribunal that had advised legal action be taken against the nine members of the NCCC.

The court tribunal agreed unanimously that the graft-busters had committed malfeasance by giving themselves a salary rise, an action it said had caused damage to the NCCC, Finance Ministry and taxpayers.

Published on February 25, 2005