Police Seek to Strip Parina of Immunity, Charge Her for Land Encroachment

A file photo of Phalang Pracharath Party MP Parina Kraikupt.

BANGKOK — The law enforcement is in the process of stripping pro-government MP Parina Kraikupt of her legal immunity so she can face charges on public land encroachment, lawmakers briefed on the matter said Monday. 

Police will reportedly send a letter to the House Speaker asking him to hold a vote and suspend the immunity granted to the Phalang Pracharath Party MP, who’s accused of building a poultry farm on a restricted land in Ratchaburi province.

“We invited the police twice to give us the update,” Apichat Sirisoontorn, chairman of the House Committee on the environment, said by phone. “After police investigated, they concluded that they will charge Parina and forward the case to the Office of the Attorney General.”

The latest meeting took place on Dec. 16, said Apichat, who serves as an MP for the opposition Move Forward Party.

Parina, an MP for Ratchaburi, stands accused of building a chicken farm on government land reserved for impoverished farmers in the province. She has repeatedly denied the accusations.

Authorities say this aerial photograph confirms that the poultry farm in Ratchaburi province owned by MP Parina Kraikup encroaches on the forest land.

There has been little action taken against Parina since the scandal broke out in November 2019.

Under the laws, MPs cannot be arrested or prosecuted while the Parliament is in session, unless the majority of the House of Representatives votes to suspend the immunity.

Apichat said there’s “no guarantee” that the government coalition parties will go along with the attempt to strip Parina of her legal immunity.

“If they vote in favor of Parina, we could lose,” Apichat said.

Anti-corruption activist Veera Somkwankid has been pursuing the case since late 2019. Veera said he will take action against the law enforcement if there is no progress in their attempt to prosecute Parina.

“The letter is probably with the national police chief. It shouldn’t take long, but I won’t rush them,” Veera said. “Let them examine the matter well.”

A police investigator involved with the case confirmed the news and said the letter is in the pipeline. The officer, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media, said even if Parina did retain her immunity, police will simply wait until the House’s current session is over in February.

“There is no reason why she would not meet the Attorney General,” the officer said. “The case will be completed when the person and the charge are brought forward to the AOG.”

Police spokesman Col Kissana Phathanacharoen was not available to comment on the case as of press time.