BANGKOK — The court on Tuesday evening issued an arrest warrant for the third individual accused of assaulting Her Majesty the Queen, a case that struck many witnesses as questionable.
Suranat Paenprasert, a coordinator for children’s welfare and anti-drug advocacy group “Active Youth,” was charged with Article 110 of the Criminal Codes, which bans committing acts of violence against Her Majesty the Queen or Her Liberty. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Suranat is the third suspect named in the investigation into the police’s allegations that a group of protesters blocked the royal motorcade carrying Queen Suthida and Prince Dipangkorn on Oct. 14.
The other two suspects are anti-government campaigner Ekachai Hongkangwan and student activist Bunkueanun “Francis” Paothong. Ekachai was denied bail and put in prison, while Bunkueanun was released on bail on the grounds that he was a student in a state university.
The police accused them of assaulting Queen Suthida during a confrontation that saw the royal convoy, backed by phalanxes of policemen, driving through a small protest in front of Government House on Oct. 14.
But eyewitnesses at the scene, including two Khaosod English correspondents, said they did not see any protesters attacking the vehicle, including Ekachai and Bunkueanun.
The motorcade’s route that passed through Government House was not published beforehand, and the police made no visible attempt to announce the royal convoy’s presence prior to charging into the crowd, witnesses said.
The police have not released any evidence that implicated Suranat, Ekachai, and Bunkueanun in any acts of violence against Queen Suthida as of publication time.
The motorcade incident was cited by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha when he declared the Serious Emergency Situation hours later, giving the security officers an undisputed authority to ban protests, arrest those suspected of joining or aiding the anti-government movement, and censor the media.