Saturday, January 05, 2008

Police slow to act, says PPP man


Police slow to act, says PPP man


A canvasser for the People Power party (PPP) in Udon Thani has complained about the lack of progress by police investigating cases involving his physical assault and a fire that broke out at his community radio station. Kwanchai Sarakham, 55, said that on Dec 18 last year, while he was having dinner in front of a hotel in downtown Udon Thani, he was attacked and beaten unconscious by a group of men.

When he left hospital after two days of treatment, a fire broke out at his community radio station. The blaze, which he believed to be an act of arson, caused only partial damage to the station, however, because firefighters brought it under control, he said.

Mr Kwanchai, known to be a supporter of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, is a local radio host and the head of a community radio club in Udon Thani.

He said he had filed complaints with police asking them to investigate the two incidents, but there was no progress.

He believed the two incidents were politically motivated, reasoning that he had played a vital role in wooing votes for the PPP in Udon Thani prior to the Dec 23 general election.

He said he had to leave Udon Thani after the election to live somewhere else because he feared for his life.

Mr Kwanchai added that he wants police protection when he returns to Udon Thani.

Pol Col Jaruwat Waisaya, deputy chief of the Crime Suppression Division, said CSD officers had already been sent to the province to investigate the two incidents.

In April 2006, an anti-Thaksin forum organised by the the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in Udon Thani was forced to end abruptly when about 200 people stormed the venue.

PAD leaders claimed Mr Kwanchai had helped fan the anti-PAD sentiment in the province.

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