Kalaya denies role in sticker scandal

News

Democrat deputy leader Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich yesterday denied any involvement in making stickers quoting Their Majesties which the Thai Rak Thai Party earlier alleged the Democrats planned to use without permission in their election campaign.

Kalaya met Metropolitan Police Region 1 commander Maj-General Kamol Kaewsuwan and was interrogated for about an hour.

Kamol said Kalaya had been questioned as a witness not a suspect.

The stickers bearing quotes by Their Majesties urging people to shun corruption were seized outside the Democrat’s Klong Toei branch on January 26.

Police said the stickers were illegal, both because they were published without seeking approval from the Royal Household Bureau and because the quotes had been distorted.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said during the run-up to the election that the Democrats planned to use the stickers as a dirty tactic in their campaign, but the Democrat Party said the stickers had been planted outside its offices as a smear tactic.

Kamol said investigators had yet to interrogate Apiwat Wanthummee, a coordinator of the Democrats’ Klong Toei branch.

Kamol said Apiwat had informed investigators that he was ready to testify on February 22.

“But I would like him to come here for interrogation much sooner so that we can wrap up the case,” Kamol said.

On Thursday Democrat candidate Thanom Onketphon and party worker Pratana Kongnak gave statements regarding the stickers to investigators, both denying involvement.

Thanom was running for a House seat in Bangkok’s Constituency 9, and Pratana worked as secretary to deputy party leader Jurin Laksanavisit when police seized the stickers.

Pratana said she had been in Phang Nga’s Takua Pa district when news broke about the stickers.

“I learned about the issue from news reports, and I had no prior knowledge about the stickers,” she said.

She said she had returned to her home town early last month and had not come to the capital until yesterday.

With regard to the company that printed the stickers, she said she had represented the Democrat Party in many business deals with the Thongkamol printing house only until the end of the House term.

Thanom said he had given his statement as a gesture of cooperation although police had not filed any charges yet.

He said the audio tape submitted to police by winning Thai Rak Thai candidate Sita Divari did not contain a recording of his voice as alleged.

Sita earlier said he had Thanom’s voice on tape, proving his involvement with the stickers.

“I suspect the stickers case is a smear campaign engineered by my political rivals,” Thanom said.

Kamol said yesterday that a report compiled from statements of those who had already testified would be forwarded to Metropolitan Police commissioner Lt-General Pansiri Prapawat on Monday.

Published on February 12, 2005

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