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Bangkok Police Chief Abruptly Transferred After Allowing Foreign Reporter to Interview Detained Pro-election Demonstrator

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BANGKOK – The chief of the Phaya Thai police station in Bangkok has been transferred, reportedly for allowing a foreign correspondent to interview a detained pro-election demonstrator at the station.

Pol Maj Gen Senit Samransamruamkij, chief of the Metropolitan Police Division 1, said late Friday he had signed the order to transfer of Pol Col Nitiwat Sansing to the division’s operations centre.

According to the Bangkok Post,  Pol Maj Gen Senit did not state the reason but other Thai media sources were saying a foreign reporter had interviewed Nuttaa Mahattana, a co-leader of the group demanding an early general election, in front of a cell at the station on Wednesday.

The inadequate supervision created a bad image for the police and was regarded as misconduct under Royal Thai Police regulations, they said.

The incident followed the arrest of the co-leaders of the demonstration after they agreed to turn themselves in on Tuesday.

The rally began at Thammasat University’s Tha Phra Chan campus on Monday evening. On Tuesday morning, the fourth anniversary of the military coup, police tried to keep the marchers from leaving the campus. But some who managed to get out marched to Government House to submit a letter to the prime minister.

They wanted the premier to hold the general election this year instead of next year as promised earlier, citing five delays in the past.

But before they could reach the destination, they were blocked by thousands of policemen. Some of them were arrested while some co-leaders turned themselves in. In total, 15 people were detained. Nine of them, including Ms Nuttaa, were sent to the Phaya Thai police station.

They were charged with violating the junta’s order on political assembly and were released on bail on Thursday.

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