PHETCHABURI — Pro-democracy activists were intercepted Sunday while traveling to the army’s historical park in Prachuap Khiri Khan, which was engulfed in corruption scandals.
Sirawith “Ja New” Seritiwat of the New Democracy Movement, said he and 13 other people were blocked more than once on the way from Bangkok to the Rajabhakti Park. Their bus was stopped several hours at Khao Yoi police station in Phetchaburi until late afternoon, making them unable to reach their destination, he said.
Local police and soldiers said the inspection was carried out following a report that a political movement was heading to the park, which features gigantic statues of seven former Thai kings. The construction project was reported in 2016 for irregularities in its funding – including unusually expensive materials and shady commissions.
Sirawith said officers first stopped them in Ratchaburi province to raid their bus and collect urine samples to test for drugs before letting them go. He said they were blocked again in Phetchaburi province and went through the same process, only this time their driver was charged for driving with an expired license, forcing them to discontinue their journey.
“I believe they did it out of spite, to stop us from going to the Rajabhakti Park,” he said, adding that they were going for a “leisure trip” not for a political purpose.
In 2015, Sirawith and his supporters were arrested aboard a train in Ratchaburi province while embarking for the park to stage a protest over its alleged corruption.
Khao Yoi police chief Col. Somkiat Chomchai could not be reached for comment as of publication time.