[UPDATED] Military Court Repeals Arrest Warrant on Matichon Founder

Khanchai Boonparn (blue-shirted, left) at a charity event in Suphanburi province, 13 May 2013

UPDATE: The military court decided at 3 pm today to repeal the arrest warrant on Khanchai Boonparn, following requests by his nephew Thakoon Boonparn.

BANGKOK — Police are now seeking the arrest of the executive chairman and co-founder of the Matichon media group for allegedly defying the military junta's summons order.

The junta's National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO) issued an announcement on 3 July ordering Khanchai "Chang" Boonparn to report to the Army Club in Bangkok.

Mr. Khanchai's nephew and the manager of Matichon,Thakoon Boonparn, reported to the military the next day to inform officers that his uncle was was in the hospital and unable to report immediately.

Mr. Khanchai, 71, has been hospitalised in Bangkok Hospital since undergoing heart surgery in April. 

This morning, Mr. Kwanchai was included on a police list of 28 suspects being sought for refusing to report to the military.

Mr. Thakoon told Khaosod English that he believes the arrest warrant was issued "out of misunderstanding," because he had already informed the military about Mr. Khanchai's medical condition.

"Matichon has also expressed its willingness to cooperate with the military junta on the matter, so there is no ground for the arrest warrant," said the manager of Matichon Group, which owns several news publications, including Khaosod English.

Mr. Thakoon later submitted proof of Mr. Khanchai's hospitalisation to the Crime Suppression Division and requested the arrest warrant to be repealed. 

Other suspects named by the police include individuals who have been accused of committing lese majeste (insult of monarchy), such as Giles Ungpakorn, Chatwadee "Rose" Amornpat, Neti Wichiansaen, and Ekkapop "Tang Achiwa" Luara.

Mr. Giles and Ms. Chatwadee currently reside the United Kingdom, while Mr. Neti and Mr. Ekkapop are understood to be living abroad to avoid lese majeste charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

Jakrapob Penkair, prominent Redshirt leader who has been residing in Cambodia since 2009, was also included on the list. 

Since seizing power from the elected government on 22 May, the NCPO has summoned and detained more than 300 politicians, activists, and academics who are seen as being sympathetic to the previous government or critical of the military takeover. Those who defy the NCPO summons orders face up to two year imprisonment and a 40,000 baht fine. 

 

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