BANGKOK — Police on Thursday said they arrested 15 construction workers for breaking nighttime curfew – an allegation disputed by their employer.
Police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said the migrant workers for the Yellow Line monorail project were arrested at a checkpoint on Bangna-Trad Road Tuesday night. They were charged with violating the emergency decree. But the group said they were going home after working overtime that night.
The case drew widespread attention on social media after the workers’ employer took to her Facebook to say they were arrested despite holding a curfew travel permit issued by the police. She said police officers ignored their papers and tore them apart.
“I want justice and clarity,” Ploichanok Sirowet wrote on her Tuesday post. “I had brought the company-issued certificates for working overtime to the police, and they said they’re good. But it turned out that my workers were arrested and told that the papers were incomplete. Then [how] can I find the complete ones?”
The workers have been freed on a bond of 40,000 baht each, the police spokesman said.
But assistant police commissioner Damrongsak Kittiprapat said the documents were invalid since working overtime is not one of the exemptions stated in the government’s order.
“Officers found that the papers they presented only certify that they’re working overtime, not in night shifts,” Lt. Gen. Damrongsak said. “It is not one of the listed exemptions, so they were charged for breaking the emergency decree.”
Under the government’s order, people working in night shifts, as well as people working in certain professions such as healthcare and logistics, are exempted from the nationwide curfew between 10pm to 4am.
Damrongsak also said the permits were ripped apart by a policeman who mistook them as scrap paper. Nevertheless, Kissana the police spokesman promised to look into the case for any inappropriate behaviors of the officers involved in the arrest.
“An inquiry committee has been established after the incident,” Kissana said. “Police commissioner Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda also instructed the probe to be prioritized and carefully conducted.”
Kissana added, “He also asked officers manning the checkpoints to exercise their discretion and politeness. They should refrain from arguing with citizens.”