Homeless man faces 21 charges for Din Daeng protests

An 18-year-old homeless man faces 21 charges resulting from protests at the Din Daeng intersection in August – October 2021.

(Picture from TLHR)

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) said that Theeramet (last name withheld) was summoned to Din Daeng Police Station on 13 January 2022 to hear additional charges relating to the Din Daeng protests. The police initially told him that he would receive 4 more counts, but when he reported to the police, he was told that he was receiving 13 more counts, bringing the total of charges he is facing to 21 counts.

Theeramet was previously arrested on 21 August and 4 October 2021 during the daily protests at the Din Daeng intersection. He then received summonses on 6 additional charges relating to protests in August and September 2021. Currently, he has been charged with 21 counts of violation of the Emergency Decree.

In addition to violations of the Emergency Decree, he has also been charged with arson, joining a gathering of at least 10 people and causing a breach of public peace, and not dispersing when ordered to do so by an officer in relation to a protest on 28 September 2021. The police accused him of being part of a group of protesters shooting firecrackers and throwing Molotov cocktails at crowd control officers, as well as throwing a Molotov cocktail at a police truck, causing it to catch fire, injuring one officer.

Theeramet was denied bail and detained on these charges between 5 November – 22 December 2021. He spent a total of 48 days in prison and was released after the public prosecutor did not indict him during his temporary detention period.

He was also charged with joining a gathering of at least 10 people and causing a breach of public peace in relation to a protest on 1 October 2021.

TLHR said that people seen near the Din Daeng protests are being charged en masse, and they are being charged for each protest separately, even though some did not participate in the protests but were only observers. Several people face a large number of violations of the Emergency Decree charge, including former Red Shirt protester Charnchai Pusarungsi, who is facing 26 counts after the police claimed to have seen him joining the Din Daeng protests. The inquiry officer said that he was seen distributing water to protesters, setting up a first aid tent, or parking his car in the Din Daeng area, but he was never described as joining the protest or causing violence.

Activist Katanyu Muenkhamruang, member of the activist group Thalufah, has also been charged with six counts of violating the Emergency Decree. The police claim she was seen around several protests at Din Daeng in September and October 2021 and was live broadcasting the protests.

Pornchai Sae-sim, member of the team from the YouTube channel Kathoei Mae Luk On, which has been live broadcasting the Din Daeng protests, has also been charged with violation of the Emergency Decree after police officers saw him around protests on 21 and 24 September 2021. Pornchai said that he did not attend the protest, but was dropping off one of the channel’s reporters, and that he stayed in the Din Daeng area for only 10 minutes. He presented his press card, and requested that the police summon the reporter as witness.

Pornchai was also previously arrested during a protest at Din Daeng on 15 September 2021, despite wearing a press armband and vest. He also has a press card and certificate showing that he has been granted permission to work after curfew. The police claimed he participated in the protests, but Pornchai said he works as a motorcycle taxi driver and was responsible for driving the channel’s reporters around. He said that on his way home after dropping off a member of the team at Mit Maitri Road , he was spotted by a group of crowd control police officers on a track. He was ordered to sit down, had his hands tied behind his back, and taken to Paholyothin Police Station.

In relation to the 15 September 2021 protest, Pornchai was charged with violation of the Emergency Decree, joining a gathering of at least 10 people and causing a breach of public peace, not dispersing when ordered to do so by an officer, and obstructing an officer’s duty with violence and while armed.

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