CHIANG MAI — Two homeless men in Chiang Mai were arrested on the allegations of breaching curfew orders earlier this month, a lawyer said Thursday.
Pikhaneth Prawang, who works for the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights network, said the pair was charged with violating the Emergency Decree and given a suspended jail sentence by the court. One of them was arrested while walking to relieve himself, and the other while walking back to his tent.
The first case involved a 38-year-old man named Tuy, who was detained on April 5 and found guilty by the court on April 6. Pikhanet said Tuy was walking from his tent behind a market to find a place to relieve himself when the officers found him.
“The police should know that homeless people have to find toilets elsewhere,” the lawyer said.
The second arrest was a 30-year-old man named Chart. Pikhanet said Chart was apprehended as he was walking home to his makeshift bed after visiting a friend.
The man was given a suspended sentence and a 3,000 baht fine, though local police officers paid the fine on his behalf, the lawyer said.
The government said the 10pm to 4am curfew was necessary to deter gatherings and travels during the coronavirus pandemic. At least 7,000 people have been arrested in recent weeks for violating the curfew, officials said.
When asked about the arrest of the two homeless men, a policeman at Chiang Mai City Police Station said on the phone today that curfew must be observed regardless of who they may be.
“Curfew is curfew,” said the officer, who asked not to be named.
Pikhanet the lawyer suspects that some police officers might choose to make arrests instead of issuing warnings to curfew violators to flaunt the numbers of arrests for a show of tough enforcement.
Pikhaneth added that a local group assisting homeless people in the city believes there are around 150 homeless people in Chiang Mai city.