(12 December) Miscommunication between police forces is said to be behind the brief detention of a leader of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) at Suvarnnabhumi Airport today.
Ms. Pratheep Ungsongtham Hata said she was about to board a 08.00 flight to Osaka, Japan, at the airport when she was approached by a group of immigration police, who reportedly told her they had to detain her for questioning due to an arrest warrant requested by Tha Rua Police in 2010.
She said the arrest warrant was issued for her role during the May 2010 military crackdown on the Redshirt protesters, in which she organised a rally in Khlong Toey district to criticise the operation of the security forces at the time.
The police later charged Ms. Pratheep with violating the Emergency Decree announced by then-Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiv, which banned political gathering of any kind.
However, Ms. Pratheep said the police action at Suvarnabhumi greatly surprised her because the warrant had been withdrawn by the police shortly after the Emergency Decree was lifted, and it has been three years since her alleged wrongdoing.
"I?ve been in and out of country for at least 9 times," Ms. Pratheep said, "I never had any problem until today".
When Suvarnnabumi police contacted Tha Rua Police Station, they were told that her warrant had indeed expired, and that there has been communication error in the police database. Ms. Pratheep was later allowed to board another plane to her destination after a detention that lasted for 3 hour.
Ms. Pratheep said she was traveling to Japan for a charity event for poor children.
She added that she will ask Pheu Thai Party and her lawyer to file a request to the Royal Thai Police, asking the officials to make sure that other UDD leaders who had been charged with offences during 2010 riots will not face the same problems at the airport due to errors in police database.
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