24 February 2021, public prosecutors of the Office of Attorney General (Department of Special Litigation 5) indicted Nutthanon Chaimahabutra and other four suspects in the Black Criminal Case no. O.420/2021 allegedly for “illegal assembly of ten persons and upward to do or threaten to do an act of violence, resisting or preventing an official from the discharge of one’s duty by doing any act of violence or threatening to do any act of violence, causing by any means to the persons under confinement by the power of an official who has the power to investigate the criminal cases to be released from such confinement, committing bodily harm against an official in the exercise of his functions, mischief, and participating in an unlawful public assembly with the use of violence or by threatening to use violence.”

In the morning, Nutthanon Chaimahabutra, Thawat Sukprasert, Sakchai Tangchitsadudi, Somkid Tosoy, and Chaluay Ekkasit, have reported themselves to the public prosecutors. They were accused by Pol Maj Thamneab Khlangthamnean, Investigation Inspector of Prachachuen Police Station of having pounding the prisoner transport vehicle and attempting to snatch “Penguin” and “Mike” confined therein while they were taken to the Prachachuen Police Station after being rearrested on other charges at the Bangkok Remand Prison on 30 October 2020. The five suspects were then indicted and had an arraignment at the Criminal Court on Ratchaphisek Road later.

After the court accepted the charges of the case, the defense lawyers applied for bail of the five defendants placing a surety including cash worth 100,000 baht each and arguing that the defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges and the charges carry up to seven years of imprisonment. The defendants do not pose flight risks and they have never been subject to custody before. In addition, they have been reporting themselves as requested by the inquiry officials and the public prosecutors regularly. Also, if the defendants are denied bail, they shall suffer immensely as Nutthanon is a student and other defendants have to work for their families’ livings. Sakchai is also advanced in age (62 years) and Chaluay has a chronic disease which needs to see doctor regularly. In addition, according to international standards, all persons alleged to have committed a criminal offence, shall be presumed innocent until they are proven guilty through the judicial process.

It does not appear that the public prosecutors have written an objection to the bail request in the annex to the plaint.

Later around 16.20, Mr. Santi Butdi, Chief Judge of Division on Narcotic Case, issued a rejection of the bail applications citing in his order that “judging from the circumstance of the case, the acts committed by the defendants showed their defiance to the law and caused turbulence in society. Should they be released, the five defendants are likely to commit other harmful acts. The bail applications of the five defendants are thus dismissed.”

As a result, Nutthanon, Thawat , Sakchai, Somkid and Chaluay have been taken to and held in custody at the Bangkok Remand Prison in late afternoon being subject to a pretrial detention. It is likely that even though further bail request is submitted, it shall be denied by the court and the five defendants may have to be remanded in custody until the judgement is made by the court.

The bus detaining the defendants of the case to the Bangkok Remand Prison (Source: Dave D. Darwin)

Three counts and five charges according to the plaint

The public prosecutors of the Office of Attorney General describe that the five defendants and others who remain at large have collectively committed an offence against several legal provisions on several occasions as follows;

1. On 30 October 2020, the five defendants and others who remain at large, altogether ten persons and upward, participated in an assembly at the entrance of the Bangkok Remand Prison demanding the release of Parit Chiwarak and Panupong Chadnok, alleged offenders in another case. Prior to this, the Criminal Court had ordered their release from the Bangkok Remand Prison, but they were put under arrest on other charges pressed by the police stations in Muang Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya and Ubonratchathani. The five defendants and others therefore closed off the entrance and exit of the Bangkok Remand Prison using wooden structure, the act of which did not constitute a peaceful assembly and disrupted the passage of prison officials and other people at the Bangkok Remand Prison. This has prompted Pol Maj Thamneab Khlangthamnean, injured party no. 1, Pol Senior Sgt Prasit Duangsuphan, injured party no. 2, Pol Sgt Atthapong Khampaengkham, injured party no. 3 and Pol Sgt Weerachat Saripha, injured party no. 4, police officials of the Prachachuen Police Station, who were assigned to put Parit and Panupong in custody on a prisoner transport vehicle belonging to VRP Advance Co. Ltd., a legal entity, injured party no. 5 as the vehicle was rented by the Royal Thai Police, to have to escape from the obstruction of the five defendants in order to bring Parit and Panupong out of the Bangkok Remand Prison.

2. On 30 October 2020, after the incidence regarding (1), the four injured individuals drove the prisoner transport vehicle along Ngam Wong Wan Road and stopped at the traffic lights just in front of Pong Pet Market. The five defendants and others who remained at large, participated in an illegal assembly and used violence or threatened to use violence to cause a breach of peace by pulling over their several motorcycles to obstruct the path of the prisoner transport vehicle. And they also used their helmets and hard objects to hit the prisoner transport vehicle, at the side windows and by force flung open the doors of the prisoner transport vehicle. They also pounded the vehicle, kicked the vehicle and hit the side window on the left with hard objects causing it to break and shouted, “Release my friends!”. It was the causing by any means to Parit and Panupong under confinement by the power of an official who has the power to investigate the criminal cases to be released from such confinement with the use of violence or by threatening to use violence. Even though the five defendants and others completed the course of their actions, it failed to serve their purpose.

Later as the prisoner transport vehicle drove further on the Thetsaban Nimit Nua Road until Soi 40 of the Road, the five defendants and others have obstructed the four injured parties who were police officials of the Prachachuen Police Station with intent to commit a bodily harm on the injured party no. 1 seated in the front section of the prisoner transport vehicle. They hurled a large piece of rock toward the prisoner transport vehicle several times causing the left side window to break, an act of which is the damaging, destroying, causing the depreciation of value or rendering useless the prisoner transport vehicle which belonged to the injured party no. 5. The damage could be valued at around 70,000 baht. It also caused an injury to the injured party no. 1 as the back of his right hand was injured by the broken glass with a gaping wound at 0.3 x 0.1 centimeters. And they have threatened to use violence with the use of arms with the complicity of three offenders and upward. It has inflicted on the officials while exercising their duties a physical and mental harm pursuant to the detail in the physical examination report of patients conducted by the Police General Hospital. It was done so to prevent the injured parties no. 1-4 from successfully bringing Parit and Panupong to the Prachachuen Police Station.

Situation in front of the Prachachuen Police Station on 30 Oct. 20 (Sorce: twitter acc. @SAHINOP)

3. During 30-31 October 2020, the five defendants and others who remained at large, altogether ten persons and upward, participated in an illegal assembly at the Prachachuen Police Station with an aim to demand the release of Parit and Panupong. Before holding such public assembly, the five defendants and others had failed to notify the authorities at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of the public assembly. In addition, they had failed to fulfill the duties of a participant in a public assembly to refrain from committing any act of violence or threatening to cause injury to other persons since the five defendants and others had used violence and punched at the bodies of the injured parties no. 2-4 causing the injured party no. 2 to sustain a bruise on his back, the injured party no. 3 to sustain a bruise on his ear, an abrasive wound on his small finger, and a painful spot on his left shoulder, the injured party no. 4 to sustain contusion on his hip, a painful spot on his right shoulder pursuant to the detail in the physical examination report of patients. It constituted an illegal assembly of ten persons and upward to do or threaten to do an act of violence and to cause a breach of peace.

Situation in front of the Prachachuen Police Station on 30 Oct. 20 (Sorce: twitter acc. @SAHINOP)

In the annex to the plaint, the public prosecutors also mention that Sakchai is the same person as the defendant in the Black Criminal Case no. O3089/2562 pending in the Criminal Court (the case stemming from the “We Want Election” demonstration in front of Thammasat University and the United Nations) and request that the court shall append the punishment in this case to the previous one.

The acts committed by the defendants described in this plaint, in the view of the public prosecutors, constitute an offence against the Penal Code’s Sections 138, 140, 191, 215, 295, 296, 358 and the Public Assembly Act B.E. 2558’s Sections 6, 10, 14, and 16.

Of all the charges pressed against the defendants, the one the carry the maximum punishment is an imprisonment of not exceeding seven years and six months with detail as follows;

  • Penal Code’s Section 215 “illegal assembly of ten persons and upward to do or threaten to do an act of violence, or do anything to cause a breach of the peace, punishable by an imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding 10,000 baht, or both.”
  • Penal Code’s Section 140 “resisting or preventing an official from the discharge of one’s duty by doing any act of violence or threatening to do any act of violence with three offenders and upward, punishable by an imprisonment not exceeding five years or fine not exceeding 100,000 baht, or both.”
  • Penal Code’s Section 191 “causing by any means to the persons under confinement by the power of an official who has the power to investigate the criminal cases to be released from such confinement, punishable by an imprisonment not exceeding seven years and six months or a fine not exceeding 150,000 baht, or both.”
  • Penal Code’s Section 296 “committing bodily harm against an official in the exercise of his functions, punishable by an imprisonment not exceeding three years or fined not exceeding 60,000 baht, or both.”
  • Penal Code’s Section 358 “damaging, destroying, causing the depreciation of value or rendering useless the property belonging to the other person or which the other person to be the co-owner, punishable by an imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine not exceeding 60,000 baht, or both.”
  • Public Assembly Act’s Section 10 “failure to notify the authority at least twenty-four hours prior to the commencement of the public assembly, punishable by a fine not exceeding 10,000 baht.”
  • Public Assembly Act’s Section 16 (6) “failure to refrain from committing any act of violence or threatening to cause injury to other participants or any other person, punishable by an imprisonment of not exceeding six months or a fine not more than 10,000 baht, or both.”

What happened the night of the attempted rearrest of “Mike-Penguin” giving rise to the case – Chaluay insisting not being part of the demonstrators

On the evening of 30 October 2020, the Criminal Court dismissed the third request to extend the remand in custody of Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Panupong “Mike” Chadnok, and Patiwat “Bank” Saraiyaem in the #19SeptRestoringPeoplePower case prompting the release of the four suspects from the prisons.

The police from the Prachachuen Police Station, however, has attempted to rearrest Panusaya, Parit and Panupong on other charges citing the outstanding arrest warrants from Nonthaburi, Ayutthaya and Ubonratchathani even though the suspects have heard charges from the concerned police stations already while they had been previously held in custody. According to the laws, after the suspects have heard the charges, the warrants shall cease to be effective.

As a result, both Parit and Panupong resisted the attempt by the police to put them into a vehicle since they deemed it an unlawful detention. Still, the officials have used force to snatch them from the Bangkok Remand Prison. En route to the Prachachuen Police Station, the police hit a motorcycle at Ngam Wong Wan Intersection causing damage to the car and injuries to passerby. Meanwhile, people who disagreed with the forcible arrest of the two suspects have followed the police vehicle until it reached the Prachachuen Police Station.

>> Timeline of the rearrest of Rung-Penguin-Mike despite the warrants ceasing to be effective

In his interview with iLAW while receiving treatment at the hospital after the incidence, Mike says that on that day, he and Penguin resisted the rearrest insisting that the police had no right to put them under arrest against using the previous arrest warrants since they had already heard the charges. Still, six plainclothes police officials have forced them into a prisoner transport vehicle by applying chokehold on them and hitting them by their knees. “They gave us a few punches. While inside the car, we managed to pull down the car window and shouted for help. When the people saw us, they drove toward our vehicle to try to block its path.”

After the incidence, Nutthanon, 20, member of the We Volunteer, aka WeVo, who was rammed into by the police vehicle has reported the case at the Thung Song Hong Police Station and there has been no progress in its investigation. In November, inquiry officials at the Prachachuen Police Station even summoned him to be witness. Later, the inquiry officials have summoned five suspects related to the incidence that night.

>> Prachachuen police pressing six charges against individuals in the accidence with the police vehicle the night of the attempted rearrest of Mike-Penguin

During the hearing of charges, the inquiry officials appeared to give an identical description of the case alleging that the five persons were assembling illegally and causing a breach of peace while attempting to obstruct the police vehicle detaining the suspects. In the description, it was alleged that Thawat flung open the doors of the prisoner transport vehicle, while Somkid pulled over his motorcycle to obstruct the path of the prisoner transport vehicle and Chaluay was alleged to kick the prisoner transport vehicle. The four suspects, except Sakchai, refused to sign their names in the charge sheets since they deemed the description did not match the real event.

Meanwhile. Chaluay insisted that he had not participated in the demonstration that day. His daughter and his wife were driving his motorcycle there and encountered the incidence and simply filmed it.