Hundreds of illegal road racers, including more than 100 minors, were arrested in a major operation in Bangkok early yesterday. Of 431 suspects arrested, 251 were road-racers, while 180 were classed as |"supportive" passengers.
The passengers were fined Bt500 each for inappropriate behaviour and causing a public nuisance, before being released.
The remaining suspects will be charged with two counts related to illegal road racing. Both offences carry a possible jail term and a fine. For delinquents under 18, their parents will face a charge of abetting or allowing their children to engage in inappropriate behaviour. If convicted, they face a fine of up to Bt30,000 and/or up to three months in jail.
Talat Phlu Police superintendent Colonel Manop Sukhonthanapat said of 251 illegal road racers, 126 were younger than 18 years of age.
"We will bring their cases to the Central Juvenile and Family Court on June 1." He said the 125 adult offenders would be taken to Thon Buri Court tomorrow.
"We launched the operation to round up these illegal road racers because we have received several complaints about them from people often," assistant national police chief Lt-General Prawut Thavornsiri announced yesterday.
Some 150 police and troops were deployed in the operation.
Metropolitan Police Division 8 deputy chief Colonel Wisan Phanmanee, who was assigned to crack down on illegal road racing, described the operation as a success.
Of those arrested, 371 were male and 66 were female. One young woman is eight-months pregnant. Six others were innocent motorists and pedestrians who happened to be at the site when the operation occurred.
The arrests took place around 3am on Ratchaphruek Road near the Ratchada-Talat Phlu overpass.
Some 272 motorcycles and 21 cars were seized.
"Fortunately, no injuries took place during the operation," Wisan said.
He expressed concern about the youths' safety, pointing out that many had tried to run away from police by jumping off the overpass.
Wisan said he hoped parents would try to make sure their children are at home before 10pm.
A number of parents either called or showed up at Talat Phlu Police Station to check if their children were among those arrested yesterday morning. "We have found two of the suspects tested positive to drug abuse," Prawut said. "Background checks show one of the suspects was released from jail just a month ago."