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Sondhi convicted of slandering Thaksin

Posted by arnon_k On September - 2 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced Sondhi Limthongkul, a People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) leader, and Sarocha Porn-udomsak to six months each in jail, suspended for two years, after finding them guilty of defaming former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

In the lawsuit, Mr Sondhi and Ms Sarocha are the first and second defendants, and Manager Media Group Plc the third defendant.

The lawsuit stated that on Aug 24, 2007 Mr Sondhi and Ms Sarocha hosted a programme “Yam Fao Paen Din” broadcast on ASTV which featured speeches they made to PAD supporters in the United States.

Their speeches were also published in Mr Sondhi’s Manager daily newspaper.

In their speeches, they quoted former deputy prime minister Surakiart Sathirathai as saying about eight hours after the Sept 19, 2006 coup that he resigned from the Thaksin government because Thaksin had verbally offended a high institution. The speeches were considered defamatory of Thaksin.

“The actions by both defendants were slanderous, so the court sentenced them each to six months jail and a 20,000 baht (640 dollar) fine each,” the judge said

The two were also ordered to publish the court verdict in five newspapers for seven consecutive days.

The jail term was suspended for two years.

Thaksin, who lives abroad to escape a jail term for corruption but remains an influential and divisive figure back home, sued the pair via lawyers in Thailand.

Insulting the monarchy is a serious charge in Thailand. Under its strict lese majeste rules anyone can file a complaint, and police are duty-bound to investigate it.

In a tangle of Thai litigation, Mr Sondhi has himself been indicted on lese majeste accusations, for quoting from the speech of a hardcore member of the rival Red Shirts in 2008.

The Criminal Court has accepted to hear the case, which is postponed until November 1.

The protester whose remarks he repeated was sentenced in August 2009 to 18 years in prison for insulting the royal family at rallies seeking the return of Thaksin.

Mr Sondhi is also among a group of protesters charged with terrorism last month over the crippling 2008 seizure of two Bangkok airports, which helped to topple a Thaksin-allied government.

Thailand is largely split between the pro-establishment Yellows, backed by Bangkok-based elites who detest Thaksin, and the mainly poor and working-class Reds, who supported Thaksin’s populist policies when in power.

Two months of protests by the Red Shirts in Bangkok earlier this year sparked outbreaks of violence that left 91 people dead and nearly 1,900 injured, ending with a bloody army crackdown on May 19.

This photo gallery shows PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul arriving at the Criminal Court on Thursday. (Photos by Surapol Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn)

9-year-old boy shot dead by stray bullets.

Posted by arnon_k On September - 2 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

A 9-year-old boy has been shot to death on a public bus and a 12-year-old girl wounded in separate brawls involving rival technical college students.

Jatuporn Pholphaka, 9, known as Nong Thian, a Prathom 3 student at Wat Bamphen Nuea School, died yesterday morning after being rushed to a nearby hospital after being hit by bullets sprayed by a technical college student at the back door of a bus on which he was travelling.

Nong Thian sustained four gun wounds to the face, two to the neck, and another to the left shoulder.

The boy was standing behind his 11-year-old brother waiting to get off the No.113 bus at a stop near Soi Ramkhamhaeng166 in Min Buri district when the brawl broke out.

As the bus stopped and its doors opened, one man darted into the bus and “acted as if he had just escaped from something dangerous”, said Nittaya Phulaiyao, 31, the bus conductor.

She said a group of about 20 Bang Kapi Technology School students emerged from the soi chasing after the man. They began hurling bottles and wooden sticks at the bus, prompting passengers to shout for the driver to leave the bus stop.

Ms Nittaya said a student pulled out a handgun as the bus started moving and shot repeatedly at the back door of the bus. Nong Thian collapsed after being shot.

Ungsu Khamwong, 39, the mother of the boy, wept as she identified the body of her son at the Bang Chan police station.

Ms Ungsu, who works as an inspector on the No.113 bus route, said she had witnessed several brawls involving students on the streets but would not have thought one of her two sons would become a victim of one of the incidents.

“I beg those violent students to stop,” she said. “Fighting will only lead to more losses. This shouldn’t have happened, really. It’s heartbreaking for a mother like me to lose a son to stray bullets.”

Police are trying to identify students suspected of being involved in the brawl and are focusing their investigations on the student who shot at the bus and caused the death of Nong Thian.

In Samut Prakan, Suthita Luecha, 12, a student at Noppakhun Witthaya School, was also hit by a stray bullet yesterday morning while travelling on a public bus.

Suthita was hit in her right shoulder as the bus passed a group of about 10 Chamni Technology School students who were standing in front of the No.25 bus terminal.

Somebody in the group fired a gun at rival students who were travelling on the same bus as the girl.

Police arrested about 30 students and confiscated 20 knives following the incident.

Interior reshuffle approved

Posted by arnon_k On August - 31 - 2010 1 COMMENT

The cabinet on Tuesday approved the appointments of high-level officials proposed by the Interior Ministry.

The appointments, effective from Oct 1, are as follows:

– Vichien Chaovalit, director-general of the Community Development Department, to be director-general of the Provincial Administration Department;
– Surachai Khan-asa, Samut Prakan governor, to be director-general of the Community Development Department;
– Kwanchai Wongnitikorn, deputy permanent secretary for interior, to be director-general of the Local Administration Department;
– Wiboon Sanguanpong, deputy permanent secretary for interior, to be director-general of the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department;
– Sumeth Saengnimnual, Chiang Rai governor, to be inspector-general;
– Surapol Pongthadsirikul, Chachoengsao governor, to be deputy permanent secretary for interior;
– Wallop Pingpong, Samut Sakhon governor, to be deputy permanent secretary for interior; and
– Chonchuen Boonyasas, Uthai Thani governor, to be deputy permanent secretary for interior.

Sources said most of the officials appointed are close to Saksayam Chidchob, chairman of a working committee of Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul and younger brother of Newin Chidchob, de facto leader of the Bhumjaithai Party.

The cabinet has previously approved the highly controversial appointment of Mongkol Surasajja, chief of the Provincial Administration Department, as the new permanent secretary. He is a former governor of Buri Ram, Mr Newin’s home province, and was 54th on the seniority list for the job.

The cabinet also approved on Tuesday the Office of the Civil Service Commission’s proposal to issue a regulation to protect officials and those working with state agencies from sexual harassment.

Montenegro PM: Thaksin will be caught if guilty

Posted by arnon_k On August - 31 - 2010 1 COMMENT

Ousted Thaksin Shinawatra will be caught if his name contained in Interpol’s list, Montenegro Prime Minister Milan Rosen said after the meeting with Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya. Montenegro PM also insists that the Thaksin case does not damage relationship of Thailand and Montenegro.

Rosen explained about visa and Montenegro nationality approval for ousted Thaksin is the policy of his government that normally gives for investors who invest in Montenegro so it does not mean to interfere in Thailand’s internal affair.

Moreover, Montenegro and other countries hope Thailand will solve the problem by peaceful mean, Montenegro PM said.