BANGKOK — A group of pageant beauties visited the environment police and encouraged investigators to continue pursuing a land encroachment case against a firebrand pro-establishment lawmaker.
The delegates include Miss Grand Thailand 2020 Pacharaporn “Nam” Chantarapadit, who met with Maj. Gen. Pitak Uthaitham of the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division on Friday night, according to the pageant’s official Facebook page. She reportedly urged for swift action in the case that implicated Phalang Pracharath MP Parina Kraikupt.
“The Miss Grand organization wants to be a voice in protecting the forest, which is the nation’s treasure. We want all Thais to see this through,” the page wrote.
Nam, 22, went there with first and second runner ups, Indy Johnson and Patchaploy Ruendaluang. Nam made headlines for explicitly voicing support for pro-democracy protests in her final question before winning the crown.
Parina is a pro-establishment MP known for her vitriolic attacks on those in the opposite political camp. She’s also embroiled in a scandal that broke out in February, when land officials announced that her poultry farm in Ratchaburi encroached on public land reserved for farmers living below the poverty line.
On Tuesday, Maj. Gen. Pitak said environmental crime police had compiled a file of 2,408 pages that found Parina to be guilty of land encroachment charges.
On Thursday, one day before the beauty queens’ visit, Pitak told the press that Parina had arranged to meet with police 10am Friday to answer those charges, but requested to postpone the meeting using parliamentary privilege.
Pitak also said that Parina requested to present 10 more witnesses for her case.
Parina owns a 1,700 rai (272 hectares) farm in Rang Bua subdistrict, Chom Bueng district in Ratchaburi province, 711 rai (114 hectares) of which are found to be encroaching.
Thai celebrities and beauty queens usually endorse the status quo or shy away from expressing any political opinions altogether. Miss Grand’s management, however, appears to break away from the kissing babies, waving-to-the-crowd formula this year.
“Beauty queens and politics are not things far apart. … The constitution doesn’t’ say some types of people are not related to politics,” Nawait Itsaragrisil, Miss Grand pageant founder said in an earlier interview.
“Before, beauty queens could only talk about things that would not affect society, such as beautiful things, loving children, Thai culture, and smiles. …but in today’s reality, people are full of suffering.”