Redshirt Leaders Detained En Route to Rajabhakti Park

Redshirt leader Jatuporn Prompan is taken into military custody while talking to reporters on November 30, 2015 in Samut Sakhon province.

Pravit Rojanaphruk
Senior Staff Writer

SAMUT SAKHON — Soldiers whisked away Redshirt leaders this morning while they were en route to the Rajabhakti Historical Park in Hua Hin, Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

Nattawut Saikua and Jatuphon Prompan, two leaders of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, or UDD, were speaking to reporters this morning at about 10am in the Mahachai area of Samut Sakhon province, southwest of Bangkok, when soldiers appeared and took them away.

It's unclear where the two have been taken to, or what law they may have been accused of violating.

The pair had told the press corp they would go see the park for themselves, but were not equipped to conduct any type of investigation of their own. About 10 minutes after their news conference began, soldiers appeared, and oaded them into a vehicle and drove away.

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Redshirt leader Nattawut Saikua speaks to the media Monday morning before being taken away by soldiers southwest of Bangkok in Samut Sakhon province.

Junta leaders had earlier warned Redshirts to stay away from the park, which was built for more than 1 billion baht to honor the monarchy but has become tainted with allegations of corruption.

The former army chief who oversaw its construction confirmed a number of apparent financial irregularities, including 10 percent “commissions” paid to a middleman for construction of the enormous statues of past kings, said to cost about 40 million baht each.

The park was built by the army, and much of the funding came from donations overseen by a charitable foundation it established.

Newly appointed army chief Gen. Teerachai Nakwanich said Nov. 20 that an internal review had found no evidence of corruption. A few days later the Defense Ministry announced that the brother of junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha, Gen. Preecha Chan-ocha, would lead a second review in the interests of dispelling any doubt.

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