‘I Don’t Condone Violence’: Prawit Denies Role in Activist Attack

Pheu Thai politician Chadchart Sitthipunt and Future Forward MP Rangsiman Rome visit pro-democracy activist Sirawith Seritiwat at the hospital on June 30, 2019.

BANGKOK — Deputy junta chairman Prawit Wongsuwan on Monday denied being behind a recent attack that left a pro-democracy activist in a critical condition.

Gen. Prawit said he has instructed officials to get to the bottom of Friday’s baton attack on Sirawith “Ja New” Seritiwat. Police have yet to name any suspects or motives, though junta opponents believe the attack is part of an organized state effort to terrorize enemies of the regime.

“I don’t condone violence. Whoever causes unrest in the country must be punished,” the junta second-in-command told reporters today. “The case is still unclear. It is under investigation.”

Read: Footage of Activist’s Assailants Released


Asked whether he thinks the assault is politically motivated, the general conceded it might be the case.

“Whether it’s a personal or political issue, I don’t know. I have to wait for police to collect evidence first,” Prawit said. “But I worry it might be related to politics.”

Police commissioner Chakthip Chaijinda said the force is working as fast as it can to identify the perpetrators. He would not confirm potential motives, citing the need for more investigation.

Although Daily News published a report quoting an unnamed police officer as saying Sirawith might have been attacked by loan sharks due to a family debt, Sirawith’s mother denied the report.

Patnaree Chankij said her family neither has any financial problems nor takes out loans, apart from a government student loan for Sirawith’s studies at Thammasat University.

“Don’t make this kind of accusation against us,” Patnaree said today.


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