Former Pheu Thai Party leader Charupong Ruangsuwan, son of former Senate Speaker Jarubutra, began his civil-service career as an assistant district chief and rose to district chief and deputy Bangkok city clerk.
With close ties to Thaksin Shinawatra, Charupong was given important roles in the Thai Rak Thai administration. He was appointed deputy permanent secretary of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry before climbing to permanent secretary of the Justice and Labour ministries.
He was made transport minister in January 2012 by the Yingluck Shinawatra administration and later became interior minister. He replaced Yongyuth Wichaidit as Pheu Thai Party leader in October 2012 and stepped down last month after the coup.
He has defied the junta’s summons. He attended a funeral of a Laotian leader in that neighbouring country and has not returned. During his absence, reports emerged that he would team up with Jakrapob Penkair to oppose the military’s power play.
He picked yesterday for the formal launch of a resistance movement called the Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy, publicised through Facebook and YouTube.