Mystery coup arrest explained

The Lumpini district police chief on Monday confirmed his undercover officers detained and forced a woman into a taxi after she staged a one-person protest against the military junta on Sukhumvit Road on Sunday.

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Pol Col Chaiya Kongsub said the woman was taken away because she acted aggressively to the undercover police, who took her to the police station to “calm down”.

He identified the woman as Sunanta Puangsiri, 50. She was the first of six people arrested for violating martial law regulations during Sunday's anti-coup protest rallies held at various locations in Bangkok. All six were still held Monday at Crime Suppression Division. 

Ms Sunanta was caught by photographers and video cameras as she was subdued by at least four plain-clothes policemen, who said she resisted arrest. They tried to pull her into a taxi cab in front of Times Square Shopping Center at about 2pm Sunday.

The video drew wide criticism from social media users, who said the officers overreacted and never told her what offence she had commiited. Some questioned the identity of the men in the video, but Pol Col Chaiya confirmed they were his undercover officers. 

The Lumpini police chief said Ms Sunanta’s behavior appeared to be “more violent than other protesters” and the officers took her to police station to calm her down and to prevent her from “violating NCPO orders too much”.

After that, she was taken from the police station by military officers for questioning, he added. 

Military officers said they had yet to press charges against Ms Sunanta and five other protesters.

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