WITH police having mounted tight security during the general election today (May 14) they came across eight cases of vote buying in an equal number of provinces while 20 ballot papers were torn nationwide as of 4 p.m., an hour before polling ended, Naewna newspaper said.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Archayaon Kraithong, spokesman of the police force, said aside from the 20 ballot papers being torn, there was one incident of photographing at the polling booth, seven cases of selling alcohol during the ban from 6 p.m. yesterday till 6 p.m. today and 145 cases of damaging a total of 1,000 campaign posters.
Regarding the eight vote-buying cases, suspects were arrested and evidence seized in four of them while the evidence is being gathered and investigation expanded in the other four.
The eight provinces where these cases emerged are Bueng Kan, Ayutthaya, Phichit, Songkhla, Nakhon Phanom, Kanchanaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Nakhon Ratchasima.
Police investigators have to delve deeper into these vote-buying cases to find out whether there are other people involved with the Election Commission also joining in to ascertain the truth.
He was concerned that there would be a big rush to the polling stations in the last hour of voting with this leading to big traffic congestion.
Regarding former MP and graft-buster Chuwit Kamolvisit’s complaint to National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Damrongsak Kittipraphat that a lot of voting buying was taking place in many places, Pol. Maj. Gen. Archayaon said police had got some complaints and are investigating them while urging the public to inform the police if they have clues of wrongdoing.
As for 15,000 polling stations not being guarded by policemen, Pol. Maj. Gen. Archayaon said this was due to inadequate manpower. While 150,000 policemen were out ensuring a smooth election, there were also over 90,000 polling stations nationwide. However, fast-moving police units kept an eye on them while coordinating with officials to ensure orderliness.
Top and Front Page: Some torn ballot papers.
Insert: Pol. Maj. Gen. Archayaon Kraithong. Photos: Naewna
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