There has been a slew of persons relentlessly being taken to and detained at the Border Patrol Police Region 1 in Pathumthani Province as a result of their participation in political assemblies in Bangkok.
According to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), from 13 October 2020 to 13 February 2021, at least 111 individuals were arrested for participating in political assemblies and were detained at the Border Patrol Police Region 1. TLHR finds such detention unlawful. The incidence can be divided into two phases.
56 individuals: Being held in custody at the Border Patrol Police Region 1 during the declaration of the Severe State of Emergency
On 15 October 2020, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha declared the Severe State of Emergency in Bangkok. It was effective from 15 October 2020 at 04.00 hr. to 22 October 2020, 12.00 hr.
Later, Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk, Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police in his capacity as Chief Officer of Response During the Severe State of Emergency, issued the Notification no. 1/2020 on 15 October 2020. The notification is “The Designation of Detention Facilities”. It prescribes that a person suspected of giving rise to a state of emergency or being a mastermind, a publicist, and a supporter of such act, or concealing information concerning the act that gives rise to the state of emergency shall be arrested and detained at the Border Patrol Police Region 1, Tambon Klong 5, Klong Luang District, Pathumthani and the 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen Sirikit’s Guard, Navamin Military Camp in Chonburi.
In addition, the notification authorizes Chief Officers of the detention facilities to set out conditions and duration of the detention and visit as deemed appropriate.
Despite the Notification of such detention facilities, pursuant to the Emergency Decree during the imposition of the Severe State of Emergency, the authorities are required to apply to the Court for an arrest warrant (Chor Chor warrant) in order to have power to arrest and detain an individual for period not exceeding seven days (pursuant to Section 12 of the Emergency Decree).
However, during the declaration of the Severe State of Emergency in the middle of October 2020, TLHR found that the court had never issued a warrant pursuant to the Emergency Decree to have any person arrested and detained. Even during the declaration of the Severe State of Emergency, competent officials are obliged to act as prescribed in the Criminal Procedure Code with regard to the normal detention of individuals.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code’s Sections 83 and 84, the arresting officials are required to bring the arrestees to the police stations with jurisdiction over the area where the arrests take place. The officials are not authorized to bring the arrested persons to the Border Patrol Police Region 1 since it is not prescribed by the exiting law, the Criminal Procedure Code.
According to the monitoring of TLHR, during the declaration of the Severe State of Emergency in Bangkok, at least 56 individuals were held in custody at the Border Patrol Police Region 1 including protest leaders who were arrested pursuant to the arrest warrants for various public assembly cases and participants in political assemblies.
55 individuals held in custody at Border Patrol Police Region 1 despite Severe State of Emergency having been lifted
Prior to that, on 13 October 2020, officials made the arrest of 21 participants in the #KhanaRatsadornEsan public assembly at the Democracy Monument and took them to the Border Patrol Police Region 1 even though the Severe State of Emergency was yet imposed.
In addition, after the Severe State of Emergency in Bangkok had been lifted on 22 October 2020, it automatically annulled the Notification of the Chief Officer of Response During the Severe State of Emergency no. 1/2020 on “The Designation of Detention Facilities”. Similarly, upon the declaration to lift the Severe State of Emergency was signed by Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, its Article 2 stipulates that all the Regulation, Notifications, and Orders issued pursuant to the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in the State of Emergency 2005 related to the declaration of the Severe State of Emergency shall cease to be effective. As a result, the authorities are barred from holding a person in custody elsewhere except those detention places stipulated in the Criminal Procedure Code.
From 22 October 2020 until 13 February 2021, however, the authorities continue unabated to arrest participants in political assemblies and have them held in custody at the Border Patrol Police Region 1 including at least 34 individuals according to TLHR’s documentation. The detentions have stemmed from three major incidences including the shrimp selling by WeVo guards at Sanam Luang and the 14 Oct. Memorial on 31 December 2020, public assembly to write on 112-meter-long fabric at the Victory Monument and Sam Yan on 16 January 2021, and recently, the #Mob13Feb assembly involving a march from the Democracy Monument to the City Pillar Shrine on 13 February 2021.
It could be said that the arrest and holding in custody of 55 protesters during the two phases at the Border Patrol Police Region 1 have been carried out unlawfully since the officials are not authorized by any law to hold them in custody at such place.
In addition, the detention at the Border Patrol Police Region 1 has led to the deprivation of the various rights of the suspects. For example, lawyers have no instant access to the suspects and permission has to be sought from superior officials during each visit. This has made legal assistance redundant and restricted access of their relatives or concerned people to the as well. The detention place is also located far from the incident location and such remote location has made visits difficult.
There are instances that the officials seized the suspects’ phones or asked to keep the lawyers’ phones during the visit. This has rendered coordination for legal assistance impossible.
There is a lack of consistency regarding the detention facilities and it is subject to the arbitrary decision of the arresting officials. This has exposed vulnerable of the detainees to enforced disappearance and torture while being held in custody.
Table showing an overview of detention at the Border Patrol Police Region 1
Overall, from 13 October 2020 – 13 February 2021, at least 111 individuals have been arrested for participating in political assemblies and held in custody at the Border Patrol Police Region 1.
- Of this, 107 of them were taken to and informed of charges against them at the Border Patrol Police Region 1.
- Two protest leaders were taken to the Border Patrol Police Region 1 and then boarded the plane to Chiang Mai to acknowledge charges at the Wing 41, the Royal Thai Air Force.
- One individual was taken to the Border Patrol Police Region 1 and later was taken to hear charges at the Klong Luang Police Station.
- One individual was taken to the Border Patrol Police Region 1 Without being informed of charges
|No.||Arrest date||Event||No. of persons detained at Border Patrol Police Region 1|
|1||13 October 2020||Public assembly #KhanaRatsadornEsan, before the mass assembly at the Democracy Monument||21|
|2||15 October 2020||Public assembly#Mob14Oct Dispersal of demonstration in front of the Government House early morning on 15 October 2020||24|
|3||15 October 2020||Public assembly#15OctGoRatchaprasong||7|
|4||16 October 2020||Public assembly#16OctGoPathumwanIntersection, arrests warrants issued against protest leaders||14|
|5||17 October 2020||Public assembly#17OctLatPraoIntersection and arrests warrants issued against protest leaders||6|
|6||18 October 2020||Arrests warrants issued against protest leaders regarding public assemblies||2|
|7||19 October 2020||Arrests warrants issued against protest leaders for #19SeptRestoringPeoplePower||1|
|8||21 October 2020||Arrests warrants issued against protest leaders regarding public assemblies||2|
|9||31 December 2020||“Shrimp Sale” to help shrimp farmers at Sanam Luang and 14 Oct. Memorial by We Volunteer||16|
|10||Before midnight of 13 January 2021||Sirichai Nathuang, TU student arrested pursuant to warrant in Section 112 case, initially brought to Border Patrol Police Region 1, and then to hear charges at Klong Luang Police Station||1|
|11||16 January 2021||Public assembly to write on 112-meter-long fabric at Victory Monument, public assembly to demand the release of those held in custody from the Samyan Mitr Town rally||6|
|12||13 February 2021||Public assembly#Mob13Feb, marching from Democracy Monument to City Pillar Shrine||11|