“Penguin” arrested and slapped with 10 charges from the Free Youth case, additional charges from the #SaveWanchalearm case on 24 June also brought against him

14 August 2020, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, a 22-year-old political science student at Thammasat University was arrested by the police under an arrest warrant related to the Free Youth demonstration case. He was then taken to Samranrat Police Station and slapped with 10 charges, although he refused to accept the judicial procedure. Police from Pathumwan police station also went there to bring more charges against him in two additional cases, including a violation of the Emergency Decree. The latter charges stem from his involvement with the activity to demand justice for “Wanchalearm” and the reading of the People’s Party Manifesto on 24 June 2020. The police will bring him to the Court to have him remanded in custody.

Around 16.20, at Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi, police vehicles cut in traffic to stop Parit’s vehicle. The officials then got out and surrounded his car and his friends. Among a number of plainclothes officials, one official in uniform identified himself as a police inspector from the Metro Police Detective Division 4 and showed him an arrest warrant issued by the Criminal Court, No.1172/2563, related to the Free Youth demonstration case which took place on 18 July 2020. Previously, Anon Nampa and Phanuphong Jadnok were also placed under arrest on the same case. Similar to the other two activists, a summons was not issued against Parit before he was arrested.

The official read out the warrant and said that Parit would be taken to Samranrat Police Station. Parit then informed the officials that he could not accept the procedure against him since it was tantamount to an act of harassment against the people.  He was then told that by refusing to cooperate, he could be liable for refusing to comply with the order of an official. Then, four officials in plainclothes decided to forcefully shove Parit into an unmarked police vehicle with license plate number “Ngor Jor 2664 Bangkok” and drove to Pak Kred Police Station first to prepare the arrest memo.

Then, at 18.30, both the officials and Parit arrived at Samranrat Police Station. Meanwhile, his mother also came to the police station.

At 19.08, after the arrival of his attorneys, the police started to read out the arrest memo while simultaneously videotaping the whole event. They also said that the alleged offender would be transferred to Talingchan Police Station to be charged and claimed that the police stationed at Talingchan Police Station were part of the investigation team in this case. Parit and his attorneys insisted, however, that the charges could be laid out at Samranrat Police Station as it has jurisdiction over the place where the crime allegedly took place.

Meanwhile, more than 100 activists and members of the public started to gather in front of the police station to show their solidarity with Parit and demand his release amidst a heavy downpour.

It was further reported that around 19.00, two male officials in plainclothes who identified themselves as police approached Parit’s friends telling them that Parit wanted to have his mobile phone and they could help to bring it inside through the police station’s backdoor. Parit’s friends insisted that the phone had to be brought inside through the main entrance only. The officials then walked away. Later, after verifying this account with Parit, he insisted that he never told the police that he wanted his phone.

At 19.45, the people gathered at the police station negotiated with the police to request to go inside to wait and use the restroom, as well as show their solidarity with Parit. Also, in response to reports that Parit was about to be brought to Talingchan Police Station, some people decided to remove traffic barriers placed by the officials to prevent people from going inside the police station.

Meanwhile, in a note written by Parit and read to the crowd outside, he insisted on refusing to accept the illegitimate procedure against him and reiterated the ten demands for the reform of the monarchy read out at the #ThammasatCantBearItAnymore demonstration on 10 August 2020.

At 20.15, Pol Maj Col Somprasong Yenthuam, Deputy Chief of Metropolitan Police, explained to the crowd that this case falls under the jurisdiction of the inquiry official at the Metropolitan Police Bureau and Parit would not be brought to the Talingchan Police Station. After the interrogation is complete, he will be brought for arraignment at the Criminal Court.

Inside the police station at 19.40, after the inquiry official completed reading out the arrest memo, Parit refused to be fingerprinted or to sign his name. Meanwhile, the police asked a medical team from the Police General Hospital to come and give Parit a health checkup.

Later, Pol Lt Col Passakorn Samuthsri, Deputy Detective Superintendent of Samranrat Police Station read altogether ten charges against him, eight of which are similar to those brought against Anon and Panupong, including sedition, assembly intended to commit acts of violence, and obstructing a public way under Articles 116, 215, and 385 of the Penal Code, respectively; violation of the regulation of the Emergency Decree which bans public gathering; offense under the Communicable Diseases Act; obstructing traffic under Article 114 of the Land Traffic Act; Article 19 of the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness Act; and the use of an amplifier without permission under Article 4 of the Controlling Public Advertisement by Sound Amplifier Act.

The police further brought two more charges against Parit including the violation of Section 391 of the Penal Code for committing an act of violence not amounting to bodily or mental harm to the other person and Section 368 of the Penal Code for refusing to comply with the order of an official.

The first 9 charges stemmed from his involvement with the Free Youth demonstration on 18 July 2020 whereas the tenth charge was pressed after Parit refused to provide his fingerprint in this case. The officials accused him of refusing to comply with the order of an official. Parit denied all charges and refused to record his fingerprint on the charge sheet as well.

At 22.20, Pol Lt Col Charoensith Chongitthi, Deputy Detective Superintendent of the Pathumwan Police Station, arrived to outline more charges against Parit in two more cases for which arrest warrants have been issued against him, and that as an act of civil disobedience, he had refused to acknowledge the police summons. The charges were related to the #SaveWanchalearm activity held to demand justice for the enforced disappearance of Wanchalearm Satsaksit which took place in front of the Bangkok Art & Culture Centre on 5 June 2020 and another activity, the recitation of the People’s Party Manifesto on the skywalk connecting to MBK Department Store on 24 June 2020.

In both cases, Parit was charged for organizing an illegal assembly under the Emergency Decree. In the latter case, he was further charged for the use of an amplifier without permission, distributing leaflets without permission, and placing and hanging objects without permission under the Maintenance of the Cleanliness and Orderliness Act. Parit denies all charges in both cases and the inquiry officials are scheduled to submit the investigation report to the public prosecutor on 8 September 2020.

Altogether, Parit has been charged in three cases and will be held in custody at the Samranrat Police Station. The police are authorized to hold him in custody for up to 48 hours from the time of the arrest. He will be brought to the Criminal Court to be remanded in custody on Saturday.

In front of the police station, more than 300 activists, academics, politicians and members of the public gathered to follow up on the arrest of Parit. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration provided a mobile toilet there. Meanwhile, on Bamrungmuang Road, there were reinforcements of at least ten vans of police officials from various police stations around the Samranrat Police Station.

The day after the arrest (15 August 2020), around 8.30 am, the police were preparing to relocate Parit to the court to submit the motion requesting the court to detain him in custody, while the other troops were deployed to search the suspect’s residence according to the search warrant. It is also reported that, around the entrance area to the Criminal Court on Ratchada Road, troops of police were deployed to examine any vehicles entering the court’s area. The court marshals also informed the visitors that unrelated parties to the case could not enter the area. Neither camera nor phone was allowed inside, forcing the supporters of Parit to stay on the footpath outside the court.

10.10 – The police were raiding the suspect’s residence. There were 5 officers in uniform and 10 in plainclothes (from an unidentified agency) who conducted the search. Friends and the lawyer of Parit were onsite to witness the process. The police found no evidence relatable to the cases he was accused of.

12.30 – During the hearing for the motion submitted to request temporary detention of Parit Chiwarak, the suspect was informed by the Criminal Court that he has been accused of violating the “Contempt of Court” allegations, derived from staging the gathering at the front of the Criminal Court to show support for his fellow activists Arnon Nampa, a human rights lawyer and political activist, and Panupong Chadnok, a leader of the Eastern Youth for Democracy, who were brought to the court earlier on 8 August 2020.

For the chronology of the arrest of Anon Nampa and Phanuphong Jadnok, please see:

27 hours of the arrest of “Anon-Phanuphong” in the Free Youth demonstration case, prior to their bail

 

Parit after he was released on bail

13.15 – After the hearing, the court ruled to approve the motion submitted by the inquiry officer. The suspect’s lawyer then proceeded to apply for a bail using the academic position of Asst. Prof. Dr. Adisorn Chantarasuk of Thammasat University as security. Around an hour later, the court has approved the bail motion but imposing a condition forbidding the suspect from taking any actions resembling the cause of the case. Otherwise, he will be fined 100K for breaching the condition.

 

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