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Arrest warrant for Prinn over sexual harassment

Police are compiling evidence to seek a warrant from the South Bangkok Criminal Court to arrest Prinn Panitchpakdi, former deputy leader of the Democrat Party who is engulfed in sexual harassment allegations.

Pol Maj Gen Trairong Phewpan, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said on Friday that the arrest warrant could be issued on Saturday.

He said Mr Prinn could face a charge of indecent exposure in public places based on the accusations filed against him.

Three women have filed their complaints against the 45-year-old politician at Lumphini police station and one at Muang police station in Phetchaburi province, according to Pol Maj Gen Trairong.

If found guilty, the charge carries a jail term of up to 10 years, a maximum fine of 200,000 baht or both.

Mr Prinn resigned from all party positions on Thursday after an 18-year-old student accused him of sexual harassment. The student and her mother had consulted lawyer Sittra Biabungkerd. They filed the complaint with Lumphini police on Tuesday.

Three more women later emerged to seek police action after the lawyer posted the case on his Facebook page, but he did not mention him by name. He only mentioned that the suspect was a deputy leader of a political party.

Mr Prinn on Thursday denied all allegations and said he would be ready to dispute the charges.

A source said the latest woman coming forward to accuse the former Democrat member was another 18-year-old student who claimed he sexually harassed her in March.

Mr Sittra on Friday questioned the handling of the case by investigators as no developments had been made against the accused. 

“What are the police doing? Do not let the society criticise you for being afraid of issuing an arrest warrant for a ‘hi-so’ person,” the lawyer wrote on his Facebook account. “Hi-so” refers to a high-profile, and rich and famous figure.

Pol Maj Gen Trairong said police were not foot-dragging on the case as they had to gather the accounts from witnesses and more evidence.

Democrat executive member Rachada Dhnadirek said on Friday the party supported all victims to take legal action and will not protect any wrongdoers. She did not mention Mr Prinn by name in a statement posted on the party’s Facebook page.

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