Gov’t MP Can’t be Arrested Because Warrant Hasn’t Arrived

Phalang Pracharat MP Waipoj Apornrat poses in front of his campaign poster. Image: Waipoj Apornrat / Facebook

BANGKOK — A pro-government lawmaker was allowed to continue working at the Parliament on Monday despite a court order to have him arrested nearly a week ago.

A senior parliament official said they simply could not apprehend Phalang Pracharat MP Waipoj Apornrat, who was issued with an arrest warrant for failing to appear before the judges on Dec. 3, because the warrant hadn’t arrived yet.

Parliament secretary Somboon Uthaiwiannakul said the warrant, issued by a court in Pattaya about 2 hour-drive away from Bangkok, has yet to be served. He did not give any explanation where the court order might be.

“The House Speaker does not have the authority to have Mr. Waipoj arrested,” Somboon told reporters. “And he cannot order the parliament police to arrest him either, because there is no warrant.”

Waipoj was accused of leading anti-government protesters to storm a hotel in Pattaya and force an international summit there to cancel in 2009. The politician was a leader of the Redshirt movement at the time, though he switched to a pro-junta party in the latest election.

Two of his fellow erstwhile comrades, Samroeng Prajamrua and Worachai Hema, were found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison. Samroeng and Worachai vowed to appeal the verdict.