112 and Other Charges Thrown at Reform Activists, Financier

Anti-government protesters face off with police on Sanam Luang, Sept. 19, 2020.

BANGKOK — A politico on Tuesday filed a police complaint against an actress who openly funded the anti-government rally over the weekend.

In the latest legal backlash against those who organized the Sanam Luang protest, veteran actress Intira “Sai” Charoenpura was targeted for allegedly fundraising donations and providing food at the rally site. 

The complaint was filed today by a former Action Coalition for Thailand Party politician Sonthiya Sawasdee, who said Intira supported a movement that sought to overthrow the monarchy. A separate complaint accusing the organizers of insulting the monarchy was also submitted to the police Monday. 

Read: Meet the Actress Who Funds Anti-Gov’t Protests – And Is Proud of It

He did not specify the offense of which Intira was guilty, though he said the protest violated many laws such as the public assembly and the disease control acts.

“Intira knew well the protest’s agenda about the 10 demands for reform,” Sonthiya said. “But she continued to promote which dishes would be served at the rally, which could be considered as an act of supporting the protest. There’s also clear evidence that she opened the field kitchen and accepted donations for its operations.”

He also said Intira should remain impartial since she is a celebrity.

“Since Intira is the lady of the people, she should position herself as politically neutral,” Sonthiya said. “I will investigate who else supported the protesters.”

Actress Intira “Sai” Charoenpura flashes the three-finger salute in front of the field kitchen during a protest on Sept. 20, 2020. Photo: @charoenpura / Twitter
Actress Intira “Sai” Charoenpura flashes the three-finger salute in front of the field kitchen during a protest on Sept. 20, 2020. Photo: @charoenpura / Twitter

Intira is one of the few individuals who publicly acknowledges giving financial support to the student-led protests, where she often provided kitchen and restroom facilities. Prior to the rally on Saturday, she could be seen teasing her fans the menu to be handed out to demonstrators for free.

Intira said on her Twitter that she never fundraised any money, and the contributions she made came out from her pockets.

“How can you scrutinize me? I’m confused. I didn’t call for any donations,” Intira tweeted.

Police spokesman Piya Uthaiyo said Monday the authorities will press all the relevant charges against the leaders and supporters of last weekend’s protest, including the lese majeste offense, even though PM Prayut Chan-o-cha had previously said that His Majesty the King has advised the authorities against using the law.

Anti-government protesters breach police barricades and enter Sanam Luang, Sept. 19, 2020.

Maj. Gen. Piya said the speeches made by protest leaders severely affect people′s feelings, and added that police will take all the complaints filed by government agencies and concerned citizens into account.

“Whenever there’s an insult against the people’s much-revered institution, it’s the duty of all police officers to protect and take action against those who committed it at all costs,” Piya said.

The protest leaders insist they have no intention to topple the monarchy, and that they merely wish to reform the institution through their 10-point demands.

On Monday, a pro-establishment figure filed a police complaint accusing activists Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, and Arnon Nampa of defaming the monarchy in the speeches they made at the rally.

Tul Sittisomwong, a key member of the Yellowshirt movement in 2006, said he did not intend to harass the activists, but he felt it was a duty as a Thai citizen.

Tul Sittisomwong files a police complaint at Chana Songkhram Police Station on Spet. 21, 2020.
Tul Sittisomwong files a police complaint at Chana Songkhram Police Station on Spet. 21, 2020.

“Many Thais are not comfortable about it,” Tul said. “I don’t want them to be imprisoned and I expect them to be given a royal pardon. I don’t want such a thing to happen again. If you disagree with the PM, the Constitution, or politics, then it’s their rights to do so, but not the monarchy.”

The Fine Arts Department also accused the protest leaders of vandalizing the historic site after they broke the concrete ground of Sanam Luang to embed the “People Party’s 2020 Plaque.” The plaque was said to commemorate the 1932 revolution which gave birth to the country’s democracy.

Col. Worasak Pisitbannakorn, superintendent of Chana Songkhram Police Station, said investigators will gather evidence and press charges against the accused individuals, though he refused to confirm whether Article 112 will be among the charges filed against the activists.

“We have to look at the evidence first,” Worasak said Tuesday. “It’s too early to tell which changes will be filed against them.”