September 15, 2023
BANGKOK – The Interior Ministry is considering revising its definition of “influential figures” to include local administrators who abuse their power as if they were above the law, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Thursday.
He said the current definition covers 16 types of people involved in various criminal activities, including trade in drugs, contraband, and illegal petrol, prostitution, and fixing of bidding for government projects.
“We will see if more types of people should be added to the existing definition to better reflect the current situation,” said Anutin, who is the leader of Bhumjaithai Party, the second-largest partner in the coalition.
“The police are dealing with this matter, but the Interior Ministry also has to offer a hand in matters within the scope of our jurisdiction,” he added.
His remarks came after a controversy involving a wealthy kamnan in Nakhon Pathom province who allegedly told his guard to shoot a local senior police officer during a party held at his house. The police officer succumbed to injuries from multiple gunshots.
The 16 types of “influential figures” also include people involved in illegal lending, extortion of protection money, illegal gambling, human smuggling, and hired guns.
The interior minister said on Thursday that his ministry was going to take measures to prevent local administrators who have become influential by using their power to threaten, persecute, or even take the life of innocent people in their area of jurisdiction.
“They can’t be allowed to get away getting someone killed or assaulted simply because they don’t like those people,” Anutin said.
He also said that Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin had instructed relevant state agencies to seriously address the issue, as well as strictly enforce the gun law.
“The Interior Ministry will impose limits on gun possession. Firearms must only be in the hands of people who use them properly,” he said.
Anutin said that he had instructed senior ministry officials to ensure strict enforcement of the law. “Public officials are required to act properly. We can’t allow one rotten fish to bring its stench to the whole room. There are so many good village heads and kamnans. We will get rid of bad ones,” he said.
Anutin said that he had instructed provincial governors all over the country to ensure that no local administrators in their province were involved in any illegal activities or abusing their authority for personal gains.
A kamnan is the chief of tambon, a cluster of villages.