Thai Goverment Raids 13 Community Radio Stations

Government officials yesterday raided 13 community radio stations in Bangkok and neighbouring provinces which have been accused of broadcasting a speech allegedly containing comments offensive to the monarchy.

A joint task force made up of officers from the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission and the Crime Suppression Division as well as local police carried court warrants to the community radio stations and seized their equipment.

Police spokesman Pol Maj Gen Prawuth Thawornsiri said Isoc had ordered police to take legal action against community radio stations which had broadcast a controversial April 10 speech made by Puea Thai Party MP Jatuporn Prompan, since he is facing lese majeste charges as a result.

Seven of the 13 stations were in Bangkok and broadcast from Lat Phrao, Bang Khen and Bang Phlad districts.

Authorities seized broadcasting equipment from the stations.

Lek Suphan, a host of the 105.75 MHz “Ruam Jai Thai” channel was arrested at the radio station in Lat Phrao-Wang Hin Soi 8.

Authorities also raided six other community radio stations in Bangkok’s outskirts, including two in Pathum Thani province belonging to the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).

The two were a 105.40 MHz channel in tambon Khu Khot and the 96.35 MHz “Red Skills” station in tambon Lat Sawai, both in Pathum Thani’s Lam Luk Ka district.

Police detained “DJ Lucky”, chief of the first radio station, and confiscated transmitters, computers and the antennas from both channels.

About 300 red shirts gathered at the Red Skills station in an attempt to prevent the police from taking away the equipment.

Police negotiated with the protesters and took “DJ Kom”, the station head, for questioning at Khu Khot police station.

As the two DJs were being interrogated, red shirt demonstrators rallied outside to demand their release.

They were later released on bail of 75,000 baht each.

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