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in-focus

Anti-graft agency probes ex-chief as reporter charged with trespass


NACC President have confirmed that the assets of former police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan are being investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) after an Isra news agency journalist was charged with trespassing while reporting on the case.

NACC President Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit said yesterday Patcharawat’s assets were being probed by an NACC sub-panel that was gathering evidence and witness accounts on the case, which is among 2,700 cases being investigated before the commission decides on indictments.
The case was placed in the media spotlight after Isra reporter Nattaporn Veeranant was charged with trespassing on Patcharawat’s alleged property. 
Nattaporn was freed on bail after being arrested on Wednesday night at an apartment building in Bangkok’s Ratchadapisek area. 
Meanwhile, the Thai Journalists Association (TJA) issued a statement demanding an end to infringements on press freedoms.
The association said Nattaporn’s work followed journalistic standards and the police charge against him was deemed as intimidation, adding that the police should not attempt to curb media efforts to check people in power.
The TJA demanded that police drop the charge, which it viewed as being weak, unfair and intended to serve people in power.
Prasong Lertratanawisute, director of the Isra Institute, which runs the news agency, said Nattaporn had met with the caretaker and asked for an interview, so he was baffled why his reporter had been charged with entering the building without permission. 
However, he said it was not clear if the charge represented an attempt to curb press freedom.
Last Wednesday, Patcharawat was acquitted in the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders along with former premiers Somchai Wongsawat and Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and former Metropolitan Police chief Pol Lt-General Suchart Muenkaew in regards to a police crackdown on yellow-shirt protesters in October 2008 that left two people dead.
The NACC had previously indicated it was investigating other matters concerning Patcharawat, including alleged “unusual wealth”. 
 

Published : August 10, 2017

By : The Nation