Police find two 8-year-old girls destroyed voter lists

national July 20, 2016 01:00

By THE NATION

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No charges against youngsters' who did not understand significance of documents.



THE destruction of eligible voter lists in Kamphaeng Phet was caused by two eight-year-old girls who did not understand the importance of the documents they were playing with, police said yesterday.
Pol Maj-General Damrong Petpong, chief of Kamphaeng Phet provincial police, said the voter lists were destroyed on Saturday during a monk-ordination ceremony at Hong Thong temple, which is near Wachirasarn Suksa School in Khanu Woralaksaburi district, where the polling station for the upcoming charter referendum is located. 
A number of people were seen at the polling station, including some intoxicated adults and children.
Earlier reports had suggested that hooligan teenagers were responsible for destruction of the voter rolls.
The police investigation into the incident found that the two girls, who lived not far away, normally came to the school every day to play with other children. 
On Saturday, the eight-year-olds and other children came to play near the board on which the voter lists were attached. 
The two girls tore the lists from the board without knowing they were state assets.
Police say they questioned the two girls and their parents in a relaxed way. The girls were released without being charged for the destruction of state property.
Damrong said the children were young and had no intention to commit a crime. He would forward evidence including footage from surveillance cameras to his superiors.
Reports of the destruction of voter lists have prompted the Interior Ministry to give the green light to local administrators and provincial “order maintenance” centres nationwide to intensify monitoring to ensure stability and to apply tough legal measures against provocateurs, while reporting such incidents to the ministry.
Government Spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd responded yesterday to reports about destruction of the voter rolls by saying Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had instructed provincial centres nationwide to step up measures to prevent offences committed particularly ahead of the referendum.
Officials have also been instructed to watch for the dissemination of false information regarding next month’s referendum and the draft constitution.
Sansern also denied social media comments, alleging that if voters enter their 13-digit ID numbers on the Department of Provincial Administration (DPA)’s website www.khonthai.com, their personal details could be accessed by criminals.
“It is not true, because the ID number will go into an automatic information process that will show whether they have voting rights in the referendum,’’ he said.
Sansern said the DPA already had every citizen’s basic personal information because everyone has to apply for national ID cards. 
“Thais do not need to worry about privacy violations. When they seek state services through electronic systems, they also have to fill in their ID numbers, so this is not dangerous at all,’’ he said.

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