BANGKOK — Police said they have identified 21 suspects who defaced the police headquarters′ sign on 22 January.
Anti-government protesters led by the Student and People Network for Thailand Reform (STR) marched to the Royal Thai Police headquarters yesterday and removed the letters from the granite sign. They later spray-painted their group name and other insulting remarks on the sign.
The act was seen as a direct challenge to the State of Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on 21 January.
Pol.Maj.Gen. Piya Uthayo, spokesman of the Royal Thai Police, said in a press conference today that he regretted the protesters′ action, as the sign was constructed under a public budget and blessed by the late Supreme Patriarch on 17 October 2004.
However, the police saw the incident as a test of the third ethical principle adopted by the police force, which is to endure all kind of offensive gestures, Pol.Maj.Gen. Piya asserted.
"Let me assure you that we are not angry," the police spokesman told reporters.
Pol.Maj. Piya nevertheless vowed to locate the 21 protesters involved in the vandalism and prosecute them according to the laws, adding that CCTV footage has already identified the individuals. The crime has a prescription period of up to 10 years, he warned.
According to Pol.Maj.Gen. Piya, the Chief of the Royal Thai Police, Pol.Gen. Adul Saengsingkaew, has stressed that all police officers must be stoic in the face of provocative acts committed by the protesters, otherwise the situation will escalate into violent confrontation.
The spokesman also dismissed the protesters′ offer that they will pay for a new sign for the police headquarters, stating that the police will construct their own new sign which will be inaugurated in a dignified ceremony.
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