Thai cops 'baffled' over missing plaque

Srivara says he has ‘no idea whom to chase’ or even if a crime was committed by the removal
PHOTO: The Nation/ Asia News Network

DEPUTY NATIONAL police chief Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul admitted yesterday that he had no idea how to proceed with the case involving the mysterious removal of a plaque marking a 1932 revolution that ended absolute monarchy.

Srivara said he believed that the plaque - which marked Thailand's shift to a constitutional monarchy - was a personal inheritance, and legally speaking only its owners or their heirs could file a complaint to police to kick-start an investigation.

However, if the complainant was a true heir of the plaque owners, he wondered why they left the plaque in the Royal Plaza area.

"Whether or not this [placing the plaque in the plaza] is forbidden, whether or not this is illegal, I don't know," said Srivara. "And you ask for the case to be proceeded. I have no idea whom to chase or even who owns it. We don't know yet."

Police confirmed yesterday that they have not proceeded with the case and have only taken a note of the incident.

Parit Ratanakulserirengrit, a nephew of Luang Seriruangrit, lodged a complaint and notified police that the plaque went missing on Sunday. Seriruangrit was among 115 members of Khana Ratsadon (People's Party) that staged the revolution to turn Thailand, then known as Siam, from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy in 1932.

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Some members of the party as well as their heirs and relatives are concerned over the missing plaque, which marked the change of the country's government, Parit told reporters.

"Many of them are senior and some of their heirs also served the country as military, police and other civil servants. They might not be comfortable to say something about this. Therefore a younger-generation person like me has to come out to speak for them," Parit said.

"I want to know how it went missing and where it is now. The plaque does not belong to any particular individual, but to all Thai people."

Parit said he was told by Police Captain Mo Rana, who took the complaint, that since the plaque was deemed state property, he would report the matter to his superior for it to be investigated.

In the first speech made by Phraya Phahol Phonphayuhasena, in his capacity as the first Prime Minister, he instructed the Interior Ministry to produce the plaque, before it was fixed on the ground of the Royal Plaza, where he read out the speech to end the absolute monarchy regime.

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The inscription on the plaque reads: "At dawn on June 24, 1932, the People's Party on this spot gave birth to the constitution for national prosperity."

The plaque was called the Constitution Plaque.

It has been replaced by a plaque, which reads: "It is good to worship the Buddhist trinity, the state, one's own family, and to be faithful to one's monarch and allow oneself to be the engine that brings prosperity to the state."

Some student activists and academics, meanwhile, have invited the public to help reclaim the missing plaque.

They plan to meet in front of Dusit Police Station at 9am tomorrow, file a complaint to the police, revisit the site around the Royal Plaza, and go to City Hall to request CCTV footage for the end of last week.