Police Will Seek Max Punishment for Decree Violators

A jail inside Bang Khen Police Station being disinfected on March 30, 2020.
A jail inside Bang Khen Police Station being disinfected on March 30, 2020.

BANGKOK — Police on Friday said they will seek maximum jail term from the court for those caught defying emergency decree measures, which includes a nighttime curfew set to come into effect tonight.

Police spokesman Maj. Gen. Piya Uthaiyo said police commissioner Chakthip Chaijinda has ordered all police stations to take up any violation of the emergency decree as the priority. He asked citizens to cooperate with the authorities in order to help contain the spread of coronavirus in the country.

“I warn those who are breaking the emergency decree to be aware that the Royal Thai Police is taking it seriously,” Piya said. “This includes those who gather for drug hangouts, gamblings, street racings, drinking at bars, as well as those who hoard commodities and loan sharks.”

Read: Public Transport, Food Delivery Adjust Service Hours For Curfew

He continued, “We will take action immediately to set an example for society. We will quickly forward the case to prosecutors and ask the court to hand them harsh punishments without sentence suspension.”

However, metro police commander Phukphong Phongpetra said officers will use their discretion when charging violators.

“If the person doesn’t intend to breach the law or has the necessity to come out during the curfew, then officers can approve it on a case-by-case basis,” Maj. Gen. Phukphong said. “But if the person deliberately challenges the law, there are protocols in case for that situation.”

Breaching of the emergency decree, such as ignoring curfew and spreading false information, is punishable by up to two years in prison or a 40,000 fine. The police spokesman also added that violators may also be punishable under other relevant laws.

A group of 16 teenagers were sentenced yesterday to four months in prison after they were arrested Monday at a drug party on a raft by the Chao Phraya River in Ayutthaya province.

They were charged with drug offenses and violation of emergency decree by gathering at night for a party.

“Please don’t panic,” Piya said. “This measure aims to increase the effectiveness of epidemic containment and discourage movement of people.”