PM Prayut among first fined for flouting mask rule

Vaccine procurement campaign went awry

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has been fined 6,000 baht for failing to wear a mask during a meeting with his vaccine procurement advisers.

Bangkok authorities made mask-wearing compulsory starting Monday. They clarified on Monday it is required even when in a vehicle of more than one person.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (right) chairs a meeting on Covid-19 vaccine procurement at Government House on Monday. Criticism followed that he failed to wear a mask and the photo was removed from Facebook. (Government House photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (right) chairs a meeting on Covid-19 vaccine procurement at Government House on Monday. Criticism followed that he failed to wear a mask and the photo was removed from Facebook. (Government House photo)

Bangkok governor Assawin Kwangmuang posted on Facebook on Monday afternoon he had filed a complaint against the premier with police.

City Hall sprang into action after social media had criticised the PM. His Facebook showed him sitting with his face unprotected at the head of a meeting table at around 11am while everyone else was wearing a mask.

The photo, which was later removed, was meant to promote the meeting on vaccine procurement at Government House.

In his Facebook post in the afternoon, Pol Gen Assawin wrote Gen Prayut had asked him to check whether he had done  wrong.

“I told him he had violated a Bangkok Metropolitan Administration announcement, which requires everyone in the capital to wear a mask at all times while outside his or her home or residence. Violation results in a fine up to 20,000 baht under Section 51 of the 2015 Disease Control Act,” he wrote.

Since investigators may determine the fine for the offence based on a fining regulation, Gen Prayut was asked to pay 6,000 baht.

The Bangkok governor, accompanied by the police chief and Dusit police investigators, then went to Government House to charge him and Gen Prayut agreed to pay the fine, wrote Pol Gen Assawin.

While the maximum fine for the offence is 20,000 baht, officials may consider charging less based on the regulation on fining, which stipulates 6,000 baht for the first-time offence, 12,000 baht for the second and 20,000 baht for the third onward.

BANGKOK POST

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