BANGKOK — The Supreme Court on Thursday found a pro-government lawmaker guilty of crashing an international summit back in 2009, weeks after he disappeared from the Parliament.
Phalang Pracharat MP Waipoj Apornrat was convicted in absentia by the court in Pattaya, who also issued a warrant for his arrest. A previous order by the court to have Waipoj apprehended back in December arrived at the Parliament days after he went missing, and his aides claimed to have no knowledge of where he might be.
In a verdict delivered today, Waipoj was sentenced to four years in jail for his role in disrupting the ASEAN summit in Pattaya a decade ago. Waipoj was a co-leader of the anti-military Redshirt movement at the time, before he switched his allegiance to the pro-junta party in 2018.
Waipoj was also fined 200 baht for the intrusion, which forced international leaders to flee the meeting venue.
The verdict was previously scheduled for Dec. 4, 2019, but Waipoj refused to show up at the court, prompting the judges to issue him with an arrest warrant and reschedule the judgment to today.
Over the next several days, Waipoj continued to show up for work at the Parliament, where officials said they were powerless to detain him because the arrest warrant had yet to arrive.
When police finally delivered the warrant a week later – on Dec. 11 – Waipoj already disappeared. His party maintained it has no information concerning his whereabouts.
Fpllowing today’s verdict, the Parliament voted to revoke his MP membership.