Crime suppression police believe a Pathum Thani red-shirt leader who faces an arrest warrant for alleged lese majeste is hiding in the Kingdom.
Deputy commander of the Crime Suppression Division Colonel Prasopchok Prommoon said his unit had contacted immigration police and found no information indicating pro-government group leader Wuthipong Kotthammakhun, aka Ko Tee, had left the country.
He said that after the court-approved arrest warrant was issued, police watched the video clip of Wuthipong giving an interview to the foreign media in which he committed the alleged offence.
Prasopchok said police also 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 and Wuthipong would be arrested when located.
A person found guilty of lese majeste, according to Article 112 of the penal code, is subject to three to 15 years’ imprisonment, with a statute of limitation of 15 years.
An arrest warrant has also been issued for Ekkapob Luara, aka Tang Acheewa, for alleged lese majeste offence over a speech he gave at a red-shirt rally last year.
Pheu Thai spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard said the government was sincere in taking legal action against anyone insulting the monarchy.
However, Anusorn said the Democrats should not pretend to forget that Suthep Thaugsuban – the former Democrat Party secretary-general and now the main leader of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) – had said he would claim sovereign power.
Anusorn said the comment should be deemed lese majeste, too, and a Pheu Thai member has already filed a complaint with police against Suthep, in addition to the insurrection charge he already faced.
Suthep announced on the PDRC rally stage at Lumpini Park last week that if the caretaker government led by Yingluck Shinawatra was ousted and the anti-government movement gained “sovereign” status, he would seek royal endorsement for a new prime minister.
Another PDRC leader Thaworn Senneam, a legal expert, said Suthep’s remark had nothing to do with lese majeste.
Thaworn said the government should investigate the alleged plot to topple the monarchy in 2010 as Wuthipong was allegedly involved in the plot then.
Department of Special Investigation director-general Tarit Pengdith dropped an investigation in the alleged plot, saying the allegation was groundless.
Tarit is now a member of the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order, which operates under the Internal Security Act.
A group of people in Chon Buri called “Pattaya People Love King” filed a complaint yesterday against Wuthipong and called on police to take the case seriously.
Group leader Trin Kiucharoen said the local police should be able to help investigate as Wuthipong used to visit Pattaya many times.