Court issues arrest warrants for accused motorcade honkers

Court issues arrest warrants for accused motorcade honkers

Activists face charges of sedition

Court issues arrest warrants for accused motorcade honkers
Student activist Tantawan Tuatulanon, 22, and a colleague from the Thalu Wang group failed to report to acknowledge charges on Monday over the Feb 4 royal motorcade incident. (File photo)

The Criminal Court approved arrest warrants on Tuesday for student activist Tantawan Tuatulanon and her Thalu Wang protest group colleague Natthanon Chaimahabud, charged with sedition and related offences for allegedly attempting to interrupt a royal motorcade on Feb 4.

Din Daeng police on Tuesday morning sought court approval to issue arrest warrants for Ms Tantawan and Mr Natthanon after they failed twice to report and acknowledge their charges. 

The pair instead sent a representative from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights to submit documents requesting a postponement of their meeting with investigators until Feb 20. They cited their conflicting need to attend classes.

However, police investigators rejected the postponement request, deciding the two young people could have reported after attending classes, a police source said.

The court approved the arrest warrant for Ms Tantawan on two counts of charges of inciting unrest or sedition in violation of Section 116 of the Criminal Code and the Computer Crime Act.

Mr Natthanon faces four charges, including violating Section 116, the Computer Crime Act, honking a car horn in violation of the Traffic Act and insulting officers.

Earlier, police from Pathumwan, Nang Loeng and Samran Rat stations proposed to public prosecutors on Feb 8 to ask the court to revoke bail for Ms Tantawan after she and Mr Natthanon honked the car horn at the royal motorcade of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who was travelling on an expressway in Bangkok on Feb 4.

Ms Tantawan, 22, already facing royal insult charges over the royal motorcade issue, apologised for driving recklessly on Feb 4 in a Facebook post on Monday, and denied trying to harass or block the royal convoy.

Later on Saturday, Ms Tantawan and her Thalu Wang group went on to conduct an opinion poll at Siam BTS station in front of Siam Paragon, asking people whether they thought royal motorcades caused inconvenience. 

Royalists calling themselves Thai People Protecting the Monarchy also showed up, and a violent brawl ensued.

Ms Tantawan, has been arrested twice, in February and March 2022, for allegedly violating the lese-majeste law. She has been released on bail. 

She staged a 52-day hunger strike early last year to demand the release of 16 people detained pending trial on charges that stemmed from the anti-government protests that began in mid-2020. 

Last May, she and eight others were charged with trespassing, destroying public property and obstructing officers at Samran Rat police station.