Yellowshirt Leaders Fined 522M for Seizing Airports

Yellowshirt protesters occupied Suvarnabhumi Airport from Nov. 25, 2008, to Dec. 3, 2008, to pressure then Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat into resigning.

BANGKOK — The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that 13 Yellowshirt leaders must pay 522 million baht for leading crowds to occupy two Bangkok airports in 2008.

Upholding the decision of the lower court, the court added 7.5 percent annual interest to what the 13 owe Airports of Thailand since Dec. 3, 2008, when the the People’s Alliance for Democracy, or PAD, lifted its blockade of Bangkok’s two international airports.

The airport seizures were seen as key to bringing down the government of Somchai Wongsawat, a proxy for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. One crowd occupied Don Mueang Airport starting on Nov. 24, 2008. Another group seized Suvarnabhumi Airport the next day.

The years-delayed criminal case against 98 leaders and protesters is still at trial. The next court hearing was postponed to March 9 as one defendant was hospitalized at the time of the previous hearing.

The 13 include Sondhi Limthongkul, who is currently serving a 20-year jail term for fraud. The rest were Maj. Gen. Chamlong Srimuang, Pipob Thongchai, Suriyasai Katasila, Somsak Kosaisuuk, Chaiwat Sinsuwong, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, Amorn Amornrattananon, Sarunyoo Wongkrachang, Samran Rodpetch, Sirichai Mai-ngam, Maleerat Kaewka and Therdphum Jaidee.

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