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Thai protest leaders ‘Penguin’, ‘Rung’ denied bail

Demonstrators flash the three-fingers salute as they gather outside Government House on Wednesday. (Reuters photo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BANGKOK, Oct 21, 2020, Bangkok Post. Two protest leaders, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, were refused bail by the Criminal Court on Wednesday and taken to Bangkok Remand Prison, Bangkok Post reported.

The court’s decision was announced in a tweet by Thamasat University lecturer Prajak Kongkirati around 4pm.

Samran Rat police took the two pro-democracy activists from the Region 1 Border Patrol Police camp in Pathum Thani province to the court, arriving around 10.50am on Wednesday.

The two Thammasat University students were released on bail by Thanyaburi court on Tuesday afternoon, before police took them to the Region 1 Border Patrol Police camp in Khlong Luang district.

Mr Parit and Ms Panusaya were also wanted on arrest warrants from other police stations for their roles in anti-government rallies in Bangkok and other provinces.

As they arrived at the court on Wednesday under police escort to face charges over the rally at Sanam Luang on Sept 19, the two activists flashed three-finger salutes and shouted “Down with dictatorship. Long live democracy”.

Political science lecturer Prajak tweeted on his account Prajak Kong shortly after 2pm, “Police sought to detain them for 12 days, but the court allowed 7 days only. I and Dr Ekasit Noonpakdi (of Faculty of Sociology, TU) have already applied for bail and are now awaiting results. If the court allows bail, both Rung and Penguin will be released on bail today-wait to hear news together”.

About 3.50pm Mr Prajak tweeted, “Let me tell you sad news from the Criminal Court. The court rejected a bail application for temporary release of Rung and Penguin that lecturers applied. In sum, Penguin and Rung were not granted bail.”

Eight minutes later, he tweeted, “Now Rung and Penguin were taken to a vehicle. Officials took them to Bangkok Remand Prison (Lat Yao) the same place where Pai, Mike and others are detained. Lawyers and lecturers will appeal tomorrow morning.”

Around 10am, police took another anti-government activist, Suranat Paenprasert, the third protester arrested on a charge of intending to do harm to Her Majesty the Queen’s liberty during her motorcade last Wednesday, to the Region 1 Border Patrol police camp in Pathum Thani for questioning.

Mr Suranat, a coordinator of the Active Youth group, was arrested at his house on Wednesday morning. He told police he was about to leave home to report to Dusit police station.

Supporters showed up at the venue with paper signs with the hashtag #Save Suranat. Representatives of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights Centre were preparing a bail application for him.

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