Royal Thai Police Deputy Commander Gen Chalermkiet Srivorakarn announced the news to the press at Thalang Police Station today (Oct 28).
“Investigators are gathering all information to bring all perpetrators of the riot on October 10 to face legal action. I can confirm today that Phuket Provincial Court has so far issued 66 warrants of arrest for suspects involved in the riot,” Gen Chalermkiet said.
The names of all 66 suspects will be released to the media after the provincial investigation into the riot has concluded, he said.
Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada on October 14 said that the committee had 30 days to file its conclusions. (See story here.)
Lt Gen Tesa Siriwato, Commander of Region 8 Police, today said that the warrants of arrest issued so far were for any persons wanted for taking part in an illegal gathering, vandalizing state assets, and assault carried out during the October 10 riot.
However, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha clearly established earlier this year that the charge of taking part in an illegal gathering alone is punishable under the dreaded Article 44 of the interim constitution.
Regardless, Gen Tesa said, “After officials have all their names ready, we will release them to the media so the suspects can turn themselves in to police.”
Meanwhile, Phuket Vice Governor Chokdee Armornwat, who arrived on the island on October 1 to take up the post of Vice Governor, has been tasked with leading the provincial investigation into the riot.
Today, he maintained that the four officers involved in the botched drugs arrest attempt that killed Pathomwat Panarak, 22, and Thanaporn Kantakien, 17, whose deaths incited the riot (see story here), were still under investigation.
The four police officers involved in the original incident – Lt Suchart Luecha, Snr Sgt Maj Prasai Phuengphol, L/Cpl Kanthaphol Khongnukate and L/Cpl Phanuwit Kaewsang – were quickly transferred from Thalang and the deaths of Mr Pathomwat and Mr Thanaporn were promptly ruled as an accident. (See story here.)
“We are wrapping up our investigation, including our findings after examining the police guidelines in trying to determine whether or not the four officers acted beyond their duty,” V/Gov Chokdee said.
“We also gathered information regarding whether or not the deaths were the result of an accident or because of the police chase.
“Right now, we cannot reveal our findings, but all information from our investigation will be revealed once we conclude our investigation,” he said.
Regarding the 66 arrest warrants issued so far, Phuket Provincial Police chief Maj Gen Pachara Boonyasit on October 13 said that the “agitators” who carried out the riot were “mostly they are drug dealers who do not like the police.”
“They do not like us because we have arrested some their colleagues already,” he said. (See story here.)