Bangkok governor race 2013
Pongsapat denies shoplifting allegations
The ruling Pheu Thai Party's Bangkok gubernatorial candidate Pol General Pongsapat Pongcharoen yesterday sought to quash allegations that he'd been prosecuted for shoplifting in the US.Submitting a written explanation with Pol Lt-General Thaweesak Tuchinda, chairman of the Bangkok office of the Election Commission, Pongsapat said the allegation came up in 1998. A Royal Thai Police investigation team looked into the matter two years later and found he was innocent.
Pongsapat also denied that he had his name changed from Pairat to Pong-sapat following the allegations in order to circumvent a rule that people with criminal records should not be entitled to become a police general.
Thaweesak, asked by reporters whe-ther evidence from a US court would have any impact, responded that the Bangkok election officials would determine whether this could be applied to Thai law.
Further, Thaweesak said that only people imprisoned for two years or more are not qualified to contest the gubernatorial election.
"There is no use" for Pongsapat's rivals to try and use the shoplifting allegations, Thaweesak said, adding they risk violating the election law.
Justice Minister Pracha Promnok said he "has no information" regarding Pongsapat's alleged shoplifting case.
Pongsapat meanwhile campaigned in the Ram-Indra area, accompanied by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Paveena Hongsakul, a former Bangkok governor candidate.
His campaign posters and leaflets are produced by How Come Studio, which is owned by ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra's son Panthongtae and friends.
Democrat Party candidate MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra campaigned in the Silom area, accompanied by former Metropolitan Police chief Maj-General Wichai Sangprapai, who is expected to become a deputy governor if Sukhumbhand is re-elected.
Sukhumbhand stepped down as the Bangkok governor last week, shortly before his term ended on January 10.
The election is scheduled for March 3.