July 28, 2016
Officials in Thailand announced an investigation into accusations that a mayor angrily locked five reporters in his office and forced workers to pull the pants off one reporter to be photographed naked.
If confirmed, the incident could cost Ban Phai mayor Premsak Piayura his job.
He was enraged over a front-page story and photo appearing to show him as a partner in an engagement ceremony, local media reported. Premsak is 51 and married, but Thailand’s Daily News reported his partner in the ceremony was 16 or 17.
Premsak allegedly ordered staffers to strip one reporter to his underwear and take photos, as an act of revenge, the Bangkok Post reported.
The mayor reportedly let the journalist put his clothes back on five minutes later, and held all the reporters in his office for about two hours.
Premsak said he was only helping out the girl’s family, and that the photo was an invasion of his privacy. He said it was a personal get-together, not an engagement ceremony.
“If the probe finds Mr. Premsak guilty of overacting by ordering his subordinates to take off a reporter’s pants, and illegally detaining other reporters, he will be removed from the post,”’ Khon Kaen governor Kamthorn Thavornsathit announced.
The investigation was set to last 15 days.
Ban Phai is roughly 250 miles northeast of the capital city, Bangkok.
Thailand — Reporters based in Khon Kaen arrive at the Ban Phai police station in Ban Phai district on Sunday to report to police. (Photo by Jakkrapan Nathanri)
Thailand: Prosecutors order additional questioning of reporters in trouser removal by mayor case
KHON KAEN — Ban Phai district police have been ordered by prosecutors to further question five reporters who have accused Premsak Piayura, the former Ban Phai Municipality mayor, of humiliating them by ordering his subordinates to strip one of them of his trousers.
The five Khon Kaen-based reporters were invited to report to Ban Phai police investigators for additional questioning on Sunday.
Dr Premsak’s actions were seen as revenge after a report filed by Mr Kosit was published in the July 26 edition of Daily News featuring a picture of Dr Premsak, who is married, and a young girl with 400,000 baht in cash in front of them at the girl’s house.
The picture was said to be of an engagement ceremony. Dr Premsak denied the allegations.
After examining the investigation report, the prosecutors order the police investigators to conduct additional questioning of the five reporters, Ban Phai police chief investigator Pol Lt Col Amnat Taoterry said.
Premsak has been suspended from duty under a Section 44 order exercised by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha
From a Blogger:
The stripping punishment ordered by mayor Premsak Piayura came after Daily News published a report and couple of photos on Monday about the 51-year-old mayor engagement to a teenager in high school. He paid a dowry of 400,000 baht and a Toyota Vios.
On Tuesday morning, Premsak ordered all local reporters to his office for a lecture on privacy. But whereas other correspondents merely got a stern talking-to, Daily News said its reporter was held back and forcefully stripped by members of Premsak’s staff and snapped photos of the naked reporter and the mayor asked the reporter: Are you embarrassed when someone violates your privacy like this?
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