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Ko Tee and Tang 'under protection' in Northeast, Dems say

Wuthipong Kotthammakhun

Wuthipong Kotthammakhun

PRO-GOVERNMENT red-shirt leader Wuthipong Kotthammakhun, who faces an arrest warrant for alleged lese majeste, is believed to be hiding under the protection of an influential figure in the Northeast.

Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said yesterday that Wuthipong, aka Ko Tee, was hiding in the Kingdom and had not left the country. Chavanond said it was time police proved that they were law enforcers and not servants of politicians.

He said if police made the effort, they would be able to nab both Wuthipong and Ekkapob Luara, aka Tang Acheewa, who is wanted for alleged lese majeste offences following a speech he gave at a red-shirt rally last year.

Police issued an arrest warrant for Wuthipong after a YouTube clip of an interview he gave to a foreign media outlet in which he allegedly made remarks offensive to the monarchy went viral on social media networks.

Chavanond called on the police to get information about the plot to topple the monarchy from Department of Special Investigation (DSI) director-general Tarit Pengdith, saying Tarit had knowledge of the plot and links within the Pheu Thai Party.

He said police should start probing the alleged plot against the monarchy by looking into the case of Wuthipong. "If police are reluctant to take necessary action for fear of negative consequences to vested interest groups, the country will continue to face political conflict," he said.

Deputy Democrat Party Spokesman Jurit Laksanawisit said Wuthipong may have now realised the meaning of the saying "Butcher the donkey after it has finished its job on the mill," because it looked like the Thaksin camp had severed ties with him. He said United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship co-leader Korkaew Pikulthong had said that if Wuthipong said what was in the YouTube clip, he had to take responsibility.

But former Pheu Thai Ubon Ratchathani MP Somkid Chuakong dismissed speculation Wuthipong was hiding in Isaan, saying the man was more familiar with Bangkok and Pathum Thani, his stronghold where he has led political activities. He urged Wuthipong to turn himself in to fight the charges.

Petrol bombs at 'red' radio station

Police searched Wuthipong's Red Guard radio station and his house in Pathum Thani, looking for him.

The arrest warrant had been circulated online in the police department's information system nationwide.

A person found guilty of lese majeste, according to Article 112 of the penal code, could face from three up to 15 years in jail. These offences have a 15-year statute of limitations.

Meanwhile, petrol bombs have been thrown into the red-shirt community radio FM 105.25 in Pathum Thani's Lam Luk Ka district.

Manont Sailektim, 35, filed a complaint with police that an unknown number of assailants threw molotov cocktails into the plastic bottle recycle factory which also operates as a radio station.

Police said after inspecting the scene the air conditioners and wiring systems in the factory had been damaged after the petrol bombs exploded and sparked the fire.

Police suspected the assailants intended to destroy equipment to prevent the station broadcasting.

Arthit Jitsawaeng, DJ of FM 105.25, said the People's Democratic Reform Committee might have believed the station was linked to Wuthipong and there had been threats before the incident.

He said Wuthipong had nothing to do with the broadcaster. "We have different opinions from Wuthipong. We have only campaigned for democracy but we also have been attacked," he said.


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