ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation
Most apprehended thought to have acted innocently.
MANY cases were reported yesterday of voters tearing referendum ballots in half, although ignorance was thought to be behind most incidents – but an election figure warned that people found guilty of a wilful misdemeanour would have to face the consequence of their action.
Such incidents were reported at 30 voting booths in 18 provinces including Bangkok, which had 10 cases in five polling stations, the Election Commission said.
EC member Boonyakiat Rakchartchaoren said it was believed most torn ballots were the result of misunderstanding, as the ballots had two distinguishable parts divided by a line that read “folding line”.
People who tore their ballots were charged but further investigation would be done to see if the individuals would have to face court, Boonyakiat said.
Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn warned that people who tore ballots for a political purpose would be punished.
The action is a crime punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to Bt20,000, according to the Referendum Act BE 2559 .
Deputy national police chief General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul inspected 30 polling stations in Bangkok and nearby areas. He said all stations had functioned rather well and officials at the stations were instructed to inform voters aged over 50 about the steps needed to be taken in casting ballots, to prevent them from unknowingly tearing ballots.
Bangkok police chief Lt-General Sanit Mahathaworn said he would consult with the Election Commission on whether four people who tore up ballots in Bangkok would face legal action.
Sanit said they were senior citizens who misunderstood that the ballot should not be torn.
Pipat Paesuwannarak, 69, of Thung Khru district, Sophon Chutimanon, 75, from Bang Phlat, Somkiat Kriengkrai, 78, from Phra Khanong, and Molruedee Amsakulwas, 54, of Bang Na, were arrested.
Pipat, Sophon and Molruedee were released pending further probes.
Somkiat was held in custody and charged with three offences. He is due to be brought to Phra Khanong Provincial Court today. He has been charged with violating the Referendum Act, damaging someone else’s property (punishable by up to three years in jail or a Bt60,000 fine) and damaging a state-issued document (punishable by up to five years in jail and/or a Bt10,000 fine)
In Pathum Thani’s Muang district, Yuwalee Wanpen, 66, was also arrested for tearing the ballot. She thought it was tearable, like an MP election ballot.
In Chon Buri province, Boondej Jomkaew, 67, of Sattahip district, and Waew Yodkhao, 70, of Sri Racha, were also arrested for tearing ballots.
Similar problems occurred with retired official Muang Noonpakdee, 89, of Kanchanaburi’s Muang district, Paiboon Suparat, 54, of Nakhon Sawan’s Muang district, and Ngid Klaipaen, 76, of Nakhon Sawan’s Lat Yao district.
Also arrested for the same alleged offence were Sangwee Jantapol, 81, of Chiang Rai’s Mae Fah Luang district, and hill-tribe woman Rattanaporn Jenjob-eiumla-or, 21.
Rattanaporn was arrested in Tha Song Yang in Tak province. She allegedly said she did not know how to vote, so she tore the ballot paper.
Taew Pattha, 61, who was arrested in Si Sa Ket province, told police: “I saw the ballot’s two sections, each in a different colour, so I tore them apart without knowing it was against the law.”