Prosecutor indicts Isaan anti-mine activists

The prosecutor has charged seven anti-mine activists in Isaan with breaking the public assembly law and intimidating public officials.

On 25 July 2017, the prosecutor indicted seven members of the anti-mine activist group Khon Rak Ban Koed (KRBK) (translated as ‘People Who Love Their Home’) from six villages in Wang Saphung District of the northeastern province of Loei.

The seven are Phonthip Hongchai, Ranong Kongsaen, Wiron Ruchichaiwat, Suphat Khunna, Bunraeng Sithong, Mon Khunna, and Lamphloen Rueangrit.

The seven were indicted for violating the Public Assembly Act and intimidating public officials for leading more than 100 people to gather in front of Wang Saphung District Administration Office on 16 November 2016 while officials were holding a meeting to consider a request to extend the mining concession for Tungkum Co Ltd, a gold mine operator in Loei.

According to the police, the KRBK members did not inform the authorities about the gathering in advance. Therefore each of the seven is subject to a 500 baht fine, adding that the fine will increase to 10,000 baht if they are found guilty.

The seven were not detained after the indictment. They have denied the accusation and vowed to fight the case.

The Loei Provincial Court has scheduled the preliminary hearing on 11 August 2017.

(From left to right): Wiron Ruchichaiwat, Lamphloen Rueangrit, Mon Khunna, Phonthip Hongchai, Ranong Kongsaen, Bunraeng Sithong, and Suphat Khunna