Army transfers colonel who gave middle finger to activists

national March 08, 2018 18:38


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THE ARMY has transferred a soldier from Payao’s Military Circle 34 who gestured with his middle finger to members of People Go Network.

Third Army Region Commander Lt-General Wijak Siribansop on Thursday signed an order to remove Colonel Thinnchat Suthirak, who was seen displaying his middle finger to People Go Network activists last Tuesday.

He was removed as head of the information division at Military Circle 34 and ordered to report to a new post at the Third Army Region immediately.

Meanwhile, an investigation committee has been set up to investigate the issue, which will issue a conclusion within three days as to whether Thinnchat had violated Army rules.

Thinnchat on Thursday also admitted that he had gestured with his middle finger to the activists and said he wanted to apologise them, as he had “not meant to be rude”.

He was seen in a video clip arguing with activists as they submitted a petition asking the governor of Payao province to end a lawsuit against residents of Ban Doi Thewada in Payao’s Phu Sang district. The residents allegedly had violated the political gathering ban enacted by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

He was then seen showing his middle finger to an activist. After the issue was reported in the media, Thinnchat claimed he had not intended to be rude and had just been innocently gesturing with his hand.

In the case against 10 People Go Network members from Ban Doi Thewada, the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights has reported that police had already withdrawn a detention order filed with Chiang Kham Provincial Court, as they had decided not to pursue the case.

However, the activists still have to wait to see whether prosecutors will proceed.

The activists were charged with violating the political gathering ban enacted by NCPO order 3/2558 and the Public Gathering Act for their activities showing support for the We Walk march last month, which was held to promote social, civic and political rights.