Pannika Files Libel Charges Against Parina for Fake News

Future Forward MP Pannika “Chor” Wanich shows a libel suit she filed to the Criminal Court on Aug. 7, 2019.

BANGKOK — A longstanding spar between two lawmakers escalated into a legal battle Wednesday when Future Forward MP Pannika “Chor” Wanich filed a libel suit against her rival for accusing her of supporting the alleged perpetrators behind the recent bombings.

In the suit filed this morning to the Criminal Court, Pannika said Phalang Pracharath MP Parina Kraikup damaged her reputation by writing an online post that accused her of visiting the family members of suspected Bangkok bombers. In fact, she visited the family of a man who fell into a coma while detained at a military base.

“I don’t want any financial compensation or Khun Parina to go to jail,” Pannika said. “But we want to show society that spreading damaging fake news is against the law, and also causes divisions in society.”

Pannika added that these actions sought to discredit both her and Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroonruangkit.

In response, Parina went to Lumpini Police Station this morning and filed a counter-charge of defamation against Pannika.

“The other day, she held a news conference and delivered many accusations against me,” Parina told reporters. “She said I cause divisions in society … I have been bullied, and I have been the target of a fake news campaign. The court will decide who’s the fake one here.”

In a Saturday post on her Facebook, Parina posted photos of Pannika pulled from the latter’s Facebook side-by-side with a photo of a Phalang Pracharath MP. The caption read:

“If it were you, who would you visit? Somsak of Phalang Pracharath visits bomb victims. Chor of Future Forward goes south to give support to the families of the suspects.”

In another post published on Sunday, Parina reshared the images with a caption denouncing Pannika and Thanathorn for “inciting our youths” and calling on the government to take action against them. The post was later removed.

However, the photos were actually of Pannika at Songklanagarind Hospital in Songkhla province visiting Abdullah Eso-musor, a man who returned from detention at a military base in a coma.

“Abdullah’s condition is improving, but he is still not conscious,” Pannika wrote in the Thursday post. “I met his wife and relatives who in his ICU room.”

Parina previously accused ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra of being the mastermind behind the Bangkok bombings last Friday that injured four. Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan has since said that he believes southern insurgency groups are involved.

Since taking office, Parina has repeatedly taken to Facebook to call Pannika derogatory names, criticize her clothing, and even accuse her of breaking the lese-majeste law.

Pannika has said that she ignored Parina’s previous attacks because they were over “small” and “nonsensical things.”