Court sentences Yellow Shirt leader to 20 years prison

BANGKOK, Feb 28 – Thailand’s Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced Sondhi Limthongkul, a core leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the Yellow Shirt movement, to 20 years in prison without suspension for violating the Securities and Exchange Act.

He was accused for fabricating documents to secure a Bt1,078 million loan from the state-owned Krung Thai Bank for his media business in 1996-1997.

The court found him guilty on 17 counts with a five-year imprisonment for each count, raising the total jail term to 85 years. The defendant confessed and the jail term was halved to 42 years and six months. However, the maximum punishment for the case should not exceed 20 years imprisonment. The court then handed down the verdict to give him the maximum jail term of 20 years without suspension.

Mr Sondhi’s lawyer then submitted a bail request with Bt10 million assets as collateral. The court later granted the yellow shirt leader bail.

The former media magnate is a core leader of the so-called Yellow Shirts, formally known as the People's Alliance for Democracy, the movement against ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, which staged rallies in the capital and led to the 2006 coup which ousted Mr Thaksin from power.

The Yellow Shirt protest in 2008 was intensified by seizure of Bangkok's two airports, an action which stranded hundreds of thousands of tourists. (MCOT online news)
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